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SDS blog10

Second half of summer term 2020

June arrives tomorrow and lockdown continues through one of the most glorious periods of early summer weather that I can recall, but despite the sunshine I would guess that most of us are still spending a lot of time at the ranch, reading. Everyone will have seen the national discourse concerning easing the current restrictions, the reality of people starting to bend the rules to breaking point and the apparent disagreement between the politicians and the scientists as to what should happen to balance health and economic recovery in the short term. Schools are a central part of the debate and I am sure that you will have seen the government guidance for secondary schools which advocate partial re-opening for Years 10 and 12 from 15 June; if you haven’t then the guidance can all be found at

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The need to value what we have

I have to confess that I am not a natural Green Day fan, though having children of a certain age I am very familiar with Billy Joe Armstrong’s music. For those of you over the age of 35 that was the band that played on a floating set on the Simpson’s Movie to a rapturous reception until they wanted to ‘talk briefly about The Environment’ – at which point they were pilloried and their pontoon sank into the polluted waters of Lake Springfield. All of which leads me by a roundabout route to a YouTube clip that I watched last week. Have a look and listen via the link below…

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Making the most of lockdown 2

My hope is that most boys are managing their workload well within the time available. No-one should be feeling stressed about whether they can manage their academic diet comfortably, and there should be some flexibility with the use of time through this protracted period where we are all mostly at home. The additional time at home, with family, is a unique opportunity to spend time with those whom you love. I know that very well – there was no way that I was anticipating having such a period shared with three grown up ‘kidults’ at this time in my life, and I am really enjoying and valuing the chance to be with them. Yes, the food bills are astronomical and no, they are not entirely receptive to the strict regime of household chores devised by their father but it is such an unexpected blessing to see more of people that you love, even if the circumstances are grim.

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How might things be different on the other side

There was a very good piece on the BBC website at the end of last week. You may have spotted it – 12 journalists speculating on how life could change after the world emerges from the current trauma. Will it be back to business as usual in their specialist area or could things be different? The questions was asked and some of the responses were predictable, but it made me think both for myself and how my habits might change, but also on a broader canvas. What might be different for us all, for better or for worse…?

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Making the most of lockdown

There are limitations to what you can do when you are restricted to your own demesne, so it is good when the object of your attention comes to you. That is quite often the case if you are a birdwatcher, and this time of year is one of more interest than most as April and May are the months where our migrant visitors make their presence felt in skies, woods, hedgerows and even gardens throughout the UK. Given a southerly airflow over a day or two the birds will arrive and, given the absence of traffic noise pollution their calls are easier to detect amid the avian orchestra of more resident species. A little like the return of dark glasses, tee shorts and flip flops amongst the human population, the return of the familiar and not-so-familiar sounds in the countryside chorus heralds the return also of longer days, warmer sun and rapidly greening and yellowing fields.

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Start of Summer Term 2020

Monday was the start of the new term for all schools, Bishop’s included. The announcement from HM Government that the lockdown continues means that we will switch back into remote learning. Hopefully you will have seen your son get back into a routine of work and learning once more, and if he hasn’t yet then a little gentle encouragement should do the trick!

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End of Spring Term Letter

Dear Parents

The end of term came allegedly last week – did anyone actually notice it?! These are such odd circumstances that we are all living through at present that mere technicalities like diary dates, term durations, holidays and the like have become temporarily obsolete. It’s as though that terminal date had been chiselled into a sarsen and then left by the side of the road, only visible to those who stopped to rest and then removed the moss which encrusted the writing. Nevertheless we are now (officially) in the Easter Break, though paradoxically school will remain open across the next two weeks for the sons of key workers. Thus BWS was closed for the many when it should have been open for business, and will be open for the few when term has run out. Extraordinary times indeed.

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Getting used to a new routine

The pace of life has changed for everyone. After the frenetic uncertainties preceding closure, just over a week has flowed by strangely silently in the world of schools, contrasting markedly with the clear evidence of a gathering tsunami in health. I am sure that it’s the same for many, as one day merges into another without the adrenaline of the working weeks separated by the weekend lulls. The routine of lessons is still there in name – but in name only. The work is there to be done, the work is there to be assessed but in truth so much of what goes on in schools is entirely organic in nature and thus very hard to replicate with authenticity in the digital domain. My one day in three rota on the stump means that I am still on site regularly, but it’s a weird atmosphere, devoid of bustle and cacophony normally generated by an army of boys. Somehow BWS feels rather abandoned with its life-blood removed. Beautiful still, but a bit un-souled and sad, waiting for excitement and busyness to return.

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We live in the strangest of times....

This time last week things were looking grim but school closures were as yet small on the horizon and people were still largely going about their normal lives. Now, as I write, school has been closed for 3 days, the site is largely locked and silent, teachers are setting work online and only a handful of key workers’ children are attending. The streets are emptying, shops and businesses are closing their doors and life seems to be slowing to almost a halt. After probably the most pressurised few days of my professional life things now are moving in slow motion and in odd ways. As History clatters over the points who knows where we are headed next?

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Delaying the inevitable…

Sadly the subject of this week’ s short blog is the viral epidemic that is now increasingly impacting life for everyone both outside and inside school. So far we have no known cases of Covid-19, though we do have a number of boys who are in precautionary self-isolation due to a variety of different domestic circumstances. Together both school and parents are taking an appropriately cautious line, while here at BWS we continue to follow the official guidance very closely. I do understand the difficulty for families who are worried about vulnerable members outside school; we will be sympathetic to absences for boys for this reason as we move into the delay phase of the national response.

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