Focus on Education January 2022 No. 1

I hope that many of us have become more thankful over the last twenty-two months for so much that we had previously been inclined to take for granted. Christmas is a time when we traditionally give thanks, and last year it was wonderful that we could celebrate with family and friends.

As I reflect on the last term, I am really thankful for all that we have been able to achieve and enjoy. Sports fixtures have resumed in full, I am very grateful to staff for ensuring a full programme of co-curricular activities; we have seen encouraging levels of participation and lots of fun. There have been further opportunities for charity fundraising, with more students wanting to be involved in taking a lead role. And, having been amongst the first in the queue for the 12-15 vaccine, we have been blessed with very few Covid cases since half-term and therefore undisrupted learning for most students. Nothing beats teaching and learning in person rather than via a screen.

I am grateful for the strong sense of aspiration and caring and respectful community for which HGS stands. I was asked by some students recently what I enjoyed most about my job. It was an easy answer, as it has been throughout my career: “You lot!” Our children may present us with challenges from time to time (that’s education, after all), but it’s the lively daily interaction and the differences that we see in their understanding and growth as human beings which have always made me thankful to be a teacher. And that is only possible with the teamwork of colleagues who share a common goal and common values.

So, a special ‘thank-you’ to you, our parents, for your support this past term and, above all, for entrusting us with your children’s education at the most formative time of their life. It’s a responsibility we take very seriously and will do our best to fulfil.

At a beautiful Carol service at Worcester Cathedral in the holidays, we gave thanks for the birth of Jesus, with some “upside-down” Christmas trees signifying God’s gift to the topsy-turvy world in which we live currently. I hope that, whatever your beliefs, you and family enjoyed a festive and peaceful Christmas, surrounded by love, as well as a bright New Year. A year in which we will still need to be extra careful, considerate and kind to each other so we can move out of the Pandemic towards a healthier 2022.

Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.” Calvin Coolidge, 30th President of the United States of America and apparent Christmas scholar who we could learn from perhaps?

Stay well and safe.

Be kind to yourself and others.

Best wishes,

Dr Bird