…that’s how many students are now on roll at Bishop’s, and we are expecting all of them back in class from Monday. Though the school site appears quite normal, the routines of the school day will be quite different for both the boys and the staff. The proliferation of signs around the site together with sanitising stations give away the fact that this will not quite be business as usual. The fact that (alone among Salisbury Schools I believe) we are going for a late start at 0930 will make things feel quite different, and that flavour of unconventionality will persist as we go through school days that are condensed and full-on. That means that the 250 or so students who are new to us will not be the only ones who can’t quite remember when the next lesson ends. Our new 50 period timetable was conceived and planned way back last autumn, before a hint of any pandemic. Now its introduction is just a bit part in a cast of larger changes. We’ll all have to keep our wits about us!
Bishop’s occupies a small, compact site and that will not change. The rules for operation have been hammered home by the pastoral staff over the past week or so for all of our students across the full age range. Our arrangements for operation are designed to create as safe an environment as possible, so now it will be down to everyone to do their bit. That includes social distancing and face masks on the way to and from school on public transport too. Once the boys and girls get to BWS bubbles will become a way of life, with tutor bases and specific outdoor spaces reserved for the different year groups. Where there is the possibility of contact between students of different ages on the school site social distancing will apply, and proximity will be fleeting, but of course infection risk exists across society and is here to stay. We are doing our best to mitigate that risk and build confidence for everyone.
I feel confident that attendance will be high, as parents that I have spoken to have been universally looking forward to sending their youngsters back to school (for a variety of heartfelt reasons!). Last week, during our briefing sessions for the students it was so refreshing to see and hear them all doing what they should be – coming into school, socialising and excitedly awaiting what the new term will bring. It will be good to be back.