I hope this finds you well.
Our International Transition Year and Year 13 students have been working hard this week, taking mock exams in preparation for their public exams later this summer. We have ensured that they have plenty of experience of exam-style testing before now, to get them used to the experience, and these exams will give them a strong sense of where they stand, before the final huge effort in preparation for the real thing. A nervous time in some ways, but also a chance to show off a bit about how far they have come academically.
This exam anxiety comes along with some momentous other events locally and internationally. The UK government this week has ended many of the control measures designed to protect us from COVID. There has been a shift from coping with to living with COVID, and legal restrictions and obligations have shifted to guidance and suggestions. We still know it is not over, though, and that background anxiety with which we have lived for months and years, perhaps diminished, is still there. Who can say what the impact of that will be over time? It must have left a mark on all of us.
And now matters in eastern Europe have escalated alarmingly, and the media are full of images of harm and terror. Just as we feel that we know what COVID is, we are reminded of that extra dimension of not knowing what the future holds, and the worry that it brings. That long low background rumble of concern suddenly spikes into shrieks of concern.
With nearly 30 nationalities represented at Earlscliffe, we have students here impacted directly and immediately by these awful scenes. As a parent and educator I am in awe of the resilience the students here have shown. Of course they fret for their loved ones and worry about what might happen next, but fear and concern have not turned to anger or hatred, and our village community stands strong. We have all been trying, in whatever way we can, to rally around those most affected by these sudden events, just as we have over months and years with previous challenges.
How will we get through this? The detail is unknown and unknowable. What on earth will happen next outside of our walls? We cannot know. What we can rely on is what will happen inside our walls: those in need will ask for help and support; those able to give it will do so happily and relish the privilege of taking our turn to wrap our arms around our community, knowing too well that we in turn will need that same love some time in the future. We will keep a caring eye on each other, and do whatever we can.
Now, as ever, if there is anything we can do to support you, please just ask.
With best wishes,
Joss Williams, Head Teacher