As last week drew to a close the completely surreal news of school closures and announcements of GCSE and A Level exams being cancelled for this year became a reality and pinching ourselves to awaken from what seemed like it could only be a dream or a nightmare was not a possibility.
You will have heard the word ‘unprecedented’ many times in speeches and on the news and these are certainly unprecedented times and completely unchartered waters the Bushey Meads community has found itself in. However, we rolled our sleeves up and tried to keep focused on making the right decisions for the school based on daily news updates and information from our students, parents and staff.
Without knowing fully what we would be facing on Monday of this week, Senior Middle Leaders and Middle Leaders across the school were asked to come in to support and plan for the week and weeks ahead. As home schooling becomes the current norm, staff in school and those working from home were setting work for students in support of not completely losing touch with their learning. We sincerely hope families of all of our students are managing to adapt to the new ways of learning and balancing this with family time and recreation (even though a lot of it is indoors). As the days go on, we will continue to review and improve how we are setting work, how much we are setting and the platforms on which we are setting them.
During the rest of this week, staff have been coming in on a rota basis to support looking after the children of our key worker parents who are still working to support the fight against the current pandemic we are facing. Although we only have a handful of students coming in, we can feel proud that we are doing our bit to support the cause. The students who have been in have been amazing, given that they are in very different circumstances to normal school. Yes, it is very quiet and I’m sure, sometimes possibly lonely, but the staff on duty and the students themselves have stayed positive, enjoying walks around the site as breaks whilst the weather has been good (staff and students keeping the required distance from each other of course). The students have been chipping away at the work set by them by their teachers and we are very proud of their efforts.
Here is an account from Mekhi in Year 8 who has been coming in to school this week:
This week many of you have known that school has been closed down but for many of us it is still open (children of key workers). For the days we’ve been at school we have been completing the work our teachers have set us (English,Maths,Science..) and have been completing it on the computers. The room we are in is F5, as the days have gone by we are enjoying it here with the teachers that have gone by to supervise us. At lunch and break we have been in the quad, canteen and around E block, which is where our classroom is close to. The things we do at break/lunch is to play football (keeping a very safe distance from each other) while talking and enjoying ourselves. While we are in lessons we do the work we are supposed to, but also take some breaks to do things like coding, mathletics, kahoot and other things while listening to music (if we want to).
Another student, Maisie in Year 10, said this:
This has been an interesting experience and it’s very strange not seeing people everywhere in the school, I have been doing my work as normal and have finished the majority of it. I don’t really like being at school with no one else except a few others i do prefer it to be busy and crowded because that’s what I’ve been used to, but overall, I have worked better and got on with the work like any day.
In terms of precautions for our school site, the school closure has allowed blocks of the school to be thoroughly cleaned and then locked up, so greater time can be spent on the daily cleaning of the used areas (the LRC, F block and H block). The rooms used by the students are on a weekly rotation allowing for these rooms to be thoroughly cleaned too.
So what’s in store for the coming weeks? Who knows? What is certain though, is that we will continue to work together for each other and the wider community by making strategic decisions to support the ever changing climate we are in.
Many thanks again to all the staff, students and parents who are all doing their best to get the very best out of the situation we are in.
Stay safe and well.