Getting used to a new routine

The pace of life has changed for everyone. After the frenetic uncertainties preceding closure, just over a week has flowed by strangely silently in the world of schools, contrasting markedly with the clear evidence of a gathering tsunami in health. I am sure that it’s the same for many, as one day merges into another without the adrenaline of the working weeks separated by the weekend lulls. The routine of lessons is still there in name – but in name only. The work is there to be done, the work is there to be assessed but in truth so much of what goes on in schools is entirely organic in nature and thus very hard to replicate with authenticity in the digital domain. My one day in three rota on the stump means that I am still on site regularly, but it’s a weird atmosphere, devoid of bustle and cacophony normally generated by an army of boys. Somehow BWS feels rather abandoned with its life-blood removed. Beautiful still, but a bit un-souled and sad, waiting for excitement and busyness to return.

When that return will come remains anyone’s guess, but September seems (to me) to be odds-on favourite for the current restrictions to begin to be lifted. In the meantime the chronology of the academic year still progresses – grading procedures have to be agreed for our boys at GCSE and A level and the arrangements for Year 13 to progress to university need to be handed down in tablets of stone. We need to think about those who are about to join us in September, in both Year 7 and Year 12, and how best to prepare them for a school which is currently in hibernation. And what about the other Bishop’s Boys, the majority, whose current experience of learning is distilled in front of them on an electronic screen? My staff will work hard to keep them engaged with both their learning and what it means to be a community of people with a shared purpose. As the Chaplain said in his YouTube video BWS has been through tough times in the past, and what has pulled everyone together is the shared identity and common sense of purpose. The spirit of the school will see us through I’m sure.

Maybe – just maybe – there could be the hint of a silver lining here, for our society on a broader scale. More than 750,000 volunteers offering to care for those who cannot get supplies. The tales of altruism, heroism, compassion and collective spirit from within the emergency services and elsewhere. The small acts of kindness and thoughtfulness surfacing in the media and on social media too, vastly outweighing the stupidity and selfishness of a very few. Maybe this crisis will help us to re-learn what is important about living in a compassionate society, and it was great to hear this view echoed by the Prime Minister earlier this week too.