Whether you have been away over the summer or opting for the seemingly increasingly popular stay-cation, it will have been hard to have missed a summer of contrasts.
It all began with great excitement and anticipation as the FIFA Women’s World Cup got underway in France. The England team had high hopes and yet these were dashed at nearly the final hurdle of a tense tournament. Despite this, much was rightly made of the large crowds in stadia and television audiences. Another watershed moment perhaps for women’s sport, bolstered by recent attendances at Super League games. This was soon followed by the arrival of Boris Johnson as the UK’s new Prime Minister. Without entering into political debate, his term of office has certainly been an eventful one and at the time of writing this shows no sign of changing. Later this summer the English cricket team took to the field and after a rollercoaster ride were disappointed to lose the Ashes for the first time on home soil in eighteen years. Ben Stokes gave us cause for celebration but defeat in the fourth test dampened our spirits. And yet even the Old Trafford loss tempted us for a few moments as an unlikely draw appeared possible. Protests in Hong Kong and forest fires in the Amazon gave us cause for serious concern, whilst Greta Thunberg’s arrival in New York harbour made us remember how even the youngest in society can raise our hopes and inspire us to greater things.
So it is following a period of turbulence at home and abroad that schools across the nation go back. Teachers and pupils reunite after a summer apart, new and old faces come in through the school front gates and the murmur of learning returns after the cacophony of the summer works programme recede into the background.
Our start of term at The Pocklington School Foundation saw us come together as a whole school community and consider our next five years as we sought staff input into our new Strategic Education Plan. Our vision draws together our Ethos, Aims, Values and Strategic Objectives so that we all know the direction in which we are headed and how we intend to get there. Aside from some excellent feedback and commentary from my colleagues, what was most heartening was to witness how well staff at Pocklington know the school and how well they collaborated to produce coherent and considered responses to the questions they were posed.
Schools are places of routine and once the start of term “jolt to the system” recedes, the regularity of school life can offer a sense of security to students and staff alike. It’s my belief, however, that the very best schools offer a sense of comfort and familiarity punctuated by frequent moments of excitement. These take a variety of forms: a particularly motivating lesson, challenging topic, hard fought sporting fixture or new experience. At Pocklington, no two days are the same and yet every day feels welcomingly familiar. Welcome back to school!