Headmaster's Blog | Friday 24 April 2020

24 April 2020

A full week of Virtual Caldicott is under our belts and each of the last five days included something new in our approach. As I reflect, one particular point springs to mind that I guess may well ring true for you at the moment.

There are no two ways about it but the multi-layered, complex, and subtle tailoring of the familiar Caldicott approach is the hardest characteristic of our school to replicate in Virtual Caldicott. All our progress this week has been related to moving from ‘one size fits all’ to something even more tailored to the individual, blended with a commitment to maintaining pupil wellbeing and enrichment in all its forms.

Related to this is the challenge of working in near isolation, away from classmates, and the familiar boy behaviour of being driven to complete tasks, no matter what. As teachers we battle with the latter daily at school and now you find yourselves trying to find the language to steer your sons from those troubled waters. Worse still, with no opportunity to compare productivity with others, the smallest hiccup has the potential to explode in the mind of a child. Parents, we are with you every step of the way and as a father of three children experiencing virtual schooling, my advice is that we need to build trust to replicate the innate trust that pupils have in teachers. The chapter on ‘How to get pupils to trust their teacher’ in the teacher manual might have only three words: authenticity, fairness and empathy. It’s tough but we do not expect you to be super-teachers and Caldicott is not shying away from its responsibility, as your son’s academic progress remains our responsibility. We’re there for you, too, in this regard.

Our community is a strong one and getting stronger as each day passes. Your kind emails of gratitude are appreciated and we continue to actively invite feedback from you all. Your sons’ teachers are exhausted, but their determination to deliver a meaningful experience has not diminished at all. Being online all day except for a lunch break, then devoting the time necessary to mark, feedback, plan and upload is beyond what any of us would want. Together we are minimising the disruption for the boys and one day we will come together for a collective pat on the back. It will involve fizz!

Some of you have asked about our plans if we come back before September. The second spell of lockdown finishes on Thursday 7 May and although my senior team and I have thoughts on the subject, I’ll not be drawn on a possible plan quite yet.

Have a great weekend.

Jeremy Banks

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