Alas, having assured Andrew Marr on Sunday that Schools were safe to open, the PM again found himself ‘going about’. In the ebb and flow of this cruel sea of the pandemic, another hostage had been made to fortune. The consequence, of course, is that I can welcome back, physically to BCS, only a fraction of you for the start of another term. You will be well aware that it is just the children of critical workers who are here on the site; that all other children are here ‘virtually’,  studying through our distance learning programme. But, with baubles back in the attic and Biden on the brink of taking power, I offer the warmest of welcomes back – existentially and democratically – to everybody.

When The Prime Minister talked about expediting the approved vaccine, he hoped for ‘a fair wind in our sails’… Here, undaunted by the storm, and accustomed to a sudden, violent change of tack, my indomitable crew had launched their already well-tested programme within 12 hours of the PM’s lockdown announcement. Staff who had been fully prepared for the children to return to the classroom on Tuesday morning went into overdrive.  Before you could say ‘Pfizer’, in fact.

And because they believe that your children should have the best education programme possible, their adaptability has been as effective as it was immediate.  I have watched my son’s lessons; I have taught Year 6 maths; I visited many virtual classrooms. The children are embracing the online provision with enthusiasm and progress is being made.

Meanwhile, I must thank you, the parents, for your continued support. Letters of gratitude and encouragement have been overwhelming. It is at once gratifying and empowering to know that you are sailing alongside us. 

On a cautionary, practical and common sense note, I do encourage parents to restrict computer and television time after the school day. The children have been great but we must remember that they are still very young and that they are spending a great deal of time online during ‘working hours’. It makes sense for them to find alternative ways to relax late in the day – away from the screen.

And so, while the youngsters unwind with a book (what an opportunity lockdown offers for reading) or perhaps a board game, my staff will continue to work very long hours and burn the evening oil, marking and assessing your children’s work. I am so proud of them all. Indeed, with their setting up, monitoring and following through of online provision, Blue Coat staff have again gone beyond the call of duty. Truly exceptional on all fronts!

Over the coming week, families will doubtless get shipshape and develop some sort of routine. Please be kind to each other and to yourselves. Talk to the school and let us support you. Issues can be dealt with quickly and effectively through strong communication.

Rest well. I am sure there is light at the end of the tunnel. Keep going and please continue to work with us.

Have a safe weekend.

God Bless

Mr Noel Neeson | Headmaster