Four days since the last blog. Things seem to go well, despite the pressures in education of looking after the children and parents, reminders, clarity and reassurance. So many of the parents in many schools I am sure, are hugely grateful for the immense work that goes into it all. Many of those parents will also understand the pressures.
The hardest thing that I have found so far is covering the staff that need to be off for a day or five whilst waiting for a test result to return. The temperature took a slight dip and with the many new children to school (added to the usual lot that were last in in their masses 5 months ago), the usual bugs, coughs and sniffles are about. Difference now is we can’t just encourage them to keep going.
Here in Leicester we have now completed 9 full days of the whole school back. From the attendances of previous years being 97-98%, we are on about 92%. No great surprise for those with common sense. If however somebody wants to come and challenge me about that, what on earth would I say, that can be repeated? Totally right, those with any covid symptoms should get tested and stay at home until right to return.
So I have four staff currently awaiting test results. All likely to be negative but it is a chance I am unwilling to take. Two of those are teachers. One has no symptoms a few days on but their child had a temperature. The other a slight temperature but typical of a throat infection they often have. Like said – no chances taken.
I have great staff where I work. A great team of honest, hard-working professionals that do their very best for the children – they know why they work in school. With that, a few staff off now is harder to manage than ever before. The usual flexibility is not the first option – we do not want to break bubbles. We could, by changing a class bubble to a year group bubble. Doing that though increases the risk. Difficulties that hit you hard – what is the answer?
When you talk teams, it is always good to recognise too that the overwhelming majority are giving and hour of their time to run a class club. The parents appreciate it (I think). We can’t do the usual clubs where children choose the thing they love and partake with others across the school in it. Again, the staff have risen, offered and delivered – offering a class club for their children to have two clubs at week where they can all attend and do some stuff after school. For the children, it is a different, informal event. For the parents, it is an hour, twice a week, to get things done. Where we can help, we do; the staff understand it and give it generously.
Beyond the school gates are the roads leading to the great outdoors. Sadly around every school in the country (almost), parking, congestion and fallouts take place with local residents unhappy with the drop-offs and pick-ups. The roads are, contrary to the belief of some, nothing to do with schools. Headteachers have no say in what parents do, but we still receive the emails, phone calls and constant complaints and demands for action. I’ve never told the public to go away or ‘not my area’, but I’d like to. I constantly remind parents and plea for empathy. Plea also for them to be considerate and polite. Doesn’t always happen though. Great to know that after the initial lockdown of covid, we have learnt to respect, consider and take care of each other; I always thought that would be too much to ask for.
Back to school tomorrow after two days of work in my new seconded role. Looking forward to it in the main. Just hope I dodge the traffic and don’t have more staff off with symptoms, leading to a week long wait for results. Should school staff get priority testing and results? I think so, if schools aren’t to shut.