Impact of the second wave

Let’s hope that the current lockdown has the desired effect of dampening the rate of infection. As cases rise nationally, schools are not immune. My guess is that most local secondary schools have had positive cases by now, though the recent increase in the spread of the virus has dropped out of the local media spotlight because of the frequency of the incidents. Bishop’s is not immune of course, as currently we have a total of 87 students learning at home due to two positive tests for boys in Years 7 and 9. My heart hopes that there are no more, but my head tells me that this is probably an unrealistic aspiration. All we can do is ensure that we are vigilant in school and all follow the guidelines of the published risk assessment as closely as we can, students and staff alike.

For those boys at home, learning continues via MS Teams; the Heads of Section have recently re-issued guidance to remind everyone what needs to happen and where to seek further help and assistance should this be needed. Initial feedback from parents has been positive, suggesting that contingency planning by Heads of Academic Departments has been effective, but inevitably learning online will always be second best compared to the real thing. If your son is faced with the prospect of isolation then please do let us know how it is going. Feedback can only improve what we do – and the situation is not going to materially change (in my opinion) before September next, so we need to try to get it as right as we can within the limits of the technology available.

In the meantime we are working hard to make things happen here in school. The news that extra-curricular provision can be maintained during the current period of restriction was very welcome. For a school like BWS, where activity outside lessons is so important, a limit to the narrow confines of the curriculum would have been very damaging. As it is we can carry on doing all the extra stuff so long as the fundamental controls are firmly in place, whether that is before or after the school day. Life really would be much the poorer were this not the case.

I see that ‘lockdown’ has been identified by the compilers of the Collins Dictionary as the Word of the Year 2020 . Lockdown is defined by Collins as “the imposition of stringent restrictions on travel, social interaction, and access to public spaces”, and its usage has boomed over the last year. Wouldn’t it be good if it’s dominance was ended ready for the start of the next educational chapter come September 2021?