Back at school for the first two days after the Christmas holidays – somewhat fortunate considering the lockdown that we weren’t due to return until Thursday, the 7th of January. It’s always brilliant to welcome the children back, to see staff and for those at home, remotely connecting – that positivity of togetherness.
As the leader of a school where the remote learning is well sorted, in my opinion, it’s still been very busy which can’t be avoided. For all of those schools out there not quite set up with all the provision as yet I can only imagine how much harder that is.
I often think how it is that some people are in the difficult position they are in and how frustrating it can be when there is nothing that they can do about it. In 2021, for a lack of technology to be available, for connectivity to be substandard, for people to feel isolated and alone – it’s ridiculous. Whether using Google classroom, Teams or another platform, there should be at least one person in every establishment, in every school, that is very confident with it and is trusted to lead and deliver on its implementation and rollout.
If I take Google classroom as an example, the cost to have it set up in your school by somebody external is minimal. There are probably people in schools, given a little bit of time, less than a day, to explore it, who would be able to learn and sort it for the school. Google being as big as it is gives accounts and all sorts for free to education – so cost is not a barrier for any school. But as previously suggested, it needs somebody at the school interested, empowered, enabled and given the authority to drive it and make it work. After that, remote learning can be simple.
It saddens and frustrates me that we have children across our country and staff in our schools struggling with more workload due to badly set up systems, in some cases the wrong choice, trying to cut corners and save a few hundred pounds (and yes I mean as little as that). When we get these things right it actually saves people time, saves money, reduces the workload and enables high quality provision. It isn’t perfect from the start but as confidence grows in the people using it, it becomes effective and valued by staff, parents and children. We just need people, the leaders to have the confidence to let go of the things they’re trying to control and trust at least one person in their organisation, to implement and roll it out.
This pandemic is not going away; I’ve said that before. Let’s be positive and let’s support each other and remember people’s mental health and well-being is very important. Re-evaluate what we do, what is important and accept things won’t work straight away and things will go wrong. We learn from our mistakes. Making mistakes and then making changes; is that not what education is about – learning?
I hope those of you out there struggling, find improvements in whatever situation you’re in and we all step back to look at the beauty in the world: frosted mornings with lovely landscapes, rooftops and trees. I know that sounds all soft and fluffy but what is life really about? Seriously people take care and show your love to others. Enjoy the weekend.