Focus on Education June 2021 No. 1

I have always had mixed feelings about the term ‘human resources’. On the one hand, it recognises the importance of humans in an organisation, yet on the other, it aligns those humans with other more tangible and non-sentient resources at that organisation’s disposal.

There is no doubt in my mind that our staff are our most precious resource. As for any organisation, they are also by far our most expensive resource, and we aim at HGS to attract, develop and retain the best teachers for our students. The success and happiness of our community resides in the quality of relationships between its members, as well as in their commitment to common goals. The best teachers are not only inspiring pedagogues, but they also know and care for their charges as individuals – and this respect is then reciprocated.

There was no hesitation on the part of staff in March of last year when they were asked to run a virtual school, reinventing how they taught, delivered assemblies and co-curricular programmes and offered pastoral support. Some may found this more challenging than others, but our priority was to do our best for our students, whether at home or in school. We know that our parents too have had to adapt the way in which they work, and human resources support has rarely been more important!

Our teachers have been very focussed on assessing Years 11 and 13 as we gave them the opportunity to perform at their highest level before we move on immediately now after half-term to determine their GCSE and A level grades. This is no mean task; we have basically this year been given the work that examination boards normally do and, as you would expect, are determined to do the best job of it in our students’ best interests.

Those who are not teachers in schools are sometimes described as ‘non-teaching staff’ – which defines them by what they do not do! We call ours ‘support staff’ and they know that their role, often behind the scenes, is to lend their support to the common aim of giving our students the best possible start in life. They are every bit as important as anyone else on the team.

It remains a challenging time for many of us as we emerge from the pandemic. We are rewarded in schools by the enthusiasm of our students and by the knowledge that we are doing something meaningful and purposeful as we guide and support our young people through their own challenges – some of which have undoubtedly been accentuated by lockdown. My job as head is to get the best from my staff but also to do my best for them. A valued and happy staff results in happy children who learn to be both human and resourceful.

Stay well and safe.

Be kind to yourself and each other.

Dr Bird