The world has changed. Now, education must as well. The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has been far reaching and touched every part of our personal and professional lives.
During this time, schools (and their staff) have excelled in bending and flexing to ensure the quality of education has been maintained for as many of our children as possible. This has been done in the long shadow cast by a government which has not been able to provide clear and coherent guidance.
Not only did schools have to ensure robust and rigorous risk assessments for health and safety were implemented and constantly adjusted, but they also had to adapt to the new world of remote learning. This proved to be a challenge for children, staff and parents – and alongside this was the continued stress and anxiety caused by worries of personal safety, grief and bereavement.
The return to school for children and staff is not as straightforward as picking up from where we left in light of the ending of restrictions.
Schools are finely balanced (and many on the edge) when it comes to the state of their financial budget. The simple fact is many schools have been forced to choose how they spend their resources – improving the curriculum, developing staff wellbeing or ensuring the school is thoroughly and regularly cleaned. Our schools have not been provided with the economic power to be able to spend on all three areas.
How do we improve our schools? By investing in the people who work in them. Sadly, there is simply not enough funding for schools to be able to achieve this in the way we as educators know it can be done.
The importance of mental health and wellbeing has finally achieved greater exposure in the wider media. However, if we want our school communities to thrive, not just survive, then there needs to be additional governmental funding.
I want schools to be great places for children to learn, and wonderful places for adults to work. All my work revolves around building capacity in staff members so that every door of opportunity remains open to as many children as possible.
It won’t be easy. It will take effort – and it seems like an insurmountable task. But it can be done in small, coherent steps.
The ocean is made of drops. Focus on those first. The waves come later.