All of us are having our values and inner qualities tested at the moment. We are trying to stay positive and not get overly anxious. We are trying to focus on our nearest and dearest whilst not forgetting those in our communities. We are having our patience tried, maybe our faith tested, certainly our resilience put through its paces.
Many schools have values they hold dear and try to instil in their young people. "Resilience" is usually found on most schools' mission statement, and held up as a quality that we think our children should build and develop, to help them to cope with all the bumps in the road. Of all the qualities our children are having to call upon - their inner strength, their compassion, their independence - there is certainly none being tested more than their resilience.
Our children are being magnificent.
Every day as I - we - face yet more challenge, uncertainty, doubt - our children are facing this too. We try to shield our children from life but we cannot, of course. They know that things are uncertain, that their life has changed dramatically, that they can't see in person their grandparents, their friends, their teachers. They see the news, they are growing up, in many cases, far too soon. And yet so many of our young people are striving away at their studies, giving it their best, trying their hardest. My teachers showcase exemplary work, talk of sky high standards, of additional effort, of how our young people are helping others, showing kindness, showing humour.
We decided yesterday to celebrate every student, as you will have seen. I am not of the "all must win prizes" school of thought, quite the contrary. Competition is good. We learn from our mistakes and our failures as much - maybe more - as our successes. But in these challenging times the grit, determination, character and resilience so many of our children are displaying, every day, deserves our applause, And as we applaud our children, we should all think of the children all around the globe. Children without the oasis that is school. Children who have none of the material comforts that we enjoy.
One of the amendments we are making to our excellent e-learning is an increase in live e-teaching, and more instructional videos - we know that to many children, their teacher is so much more than the person who teaches them knowledge. Their teacher is someone they look to, look up to, who they learn more from than just their timetabled subject. In these strange times they miss seeing their teachers' face and hearing their voice (and we miss being with all of them). And in return, your children to us are not just our students. We care for them. We know we can be role models to them. We know they want to gain our approval of the work they submit and of all their endeavours. They look to us. They rely on us. My teachers are rising to that honour and in the coming days your children will be able to see and hear them much more, which we know will mean a great deal to them, and which we also hope will further help your children to stay strong and positive.
We wish you all a wonderful day,