Gerry Robinson opens her lockdown diary to file the previous week with 12 months 10 poetry nonetheless echoing in her thoughts
“Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Shelley’s Ozymandias has been the soundtrack to the week in our AP colleges as our Yr 10 college students launched into their poetry unit for GCSE English Literature. Our ever-insightful college students instantly drew parallels with Trump and the US Capitol riots. They analysed the poem in depth, earlier than taking over the problem of studying it by coronary heart. No imply feat for anybody and, with the pervasive notion of low expectations in AP, one which many would dismiss as unimaginable.
There’s relevance nearer to house, too. The vast majority of our college students are on website as a result of they’re recognized as ‘susceptible’ and, on the finish of one more week of chaos, confusion and “chilly command” from the DfE, Shelley’s warning about smug, incompetent management resonates loudly with their lecturers.
Having lately made the transfer from head of a mainstream faculty to the manager head of a community of AP colleges and providers, the absence of AP from so many discussions has been eye-opening. Given all of the hand-wringing in regards to the instructional efficiency of susceptible college students all through the pandemic, the dearth of consideration for the AP sector in decision-making is deeply ironic. Worse, it reinforces the concept these younger folks’s lives don’t matter as a lot as their mainstream friends.
Really, low expectations begin on the very high. As a sector, we needed to foyer the DfE for particular steerage about what lockdown meant for our provisions. Ultimately, steerage was not supplied till after the time period had began and has modified 3 times since.
Really, low expectations begin on the very high
Despite that, with glorious assist from the native authority, we’ve navigated our method by and arrange on-site testing centres. College students desperately hope for a destructive outcome every time in order that they will proceed attending. Some would wrestle to entry distant studying. For individuals who are notably socially susceptible, not being in class every day poses myriad dangers. For some, self-isolation may very well be massively damaging, even when they’re asymptomatic.
Unsurprisingly given the speed of transmission regionally, we had a optimistic check outcome this week. Fortunately, this was on Monday, and the coed, who’s asymptomatic, solely got here into contact with one grownup. DfE steerage is that the workers member can proceed to attend, taking a every day lateral circulation check, nevertheless it was final Friday that Faculties Week reported critical questions in regards to the technique. We determined that the danger was too excessive. We’re educators, not virologists, however within the absence of clear steerage from authorities, we have now to make selections that we hope are proper for our communities.
Talking of our group, Shelley’s phrase “the hand that mocked them, and the center that fed” sprung to thoughts as pictures of pitiful meals parcels emerged on Tuesday. It seems they had been prompt by the DfE after lobbying from catering corporations. In distinction, we spent the week getting ready nutritious sizzling meals, delivering grocery store vouchers and restocking our foodbank. We’ve been overwhelmed by the beneficiant donations from native charities and religion teams. One guardian I spoke to, who has no recourse to public funds, expressed gratitude for this assist, not only for having sufficient to make sure her household doesn’t go hungry, however for being spared the humiliation of not being trusted to decide on the meals herself.
So vouchers are again, and there aren’t any situations on colleges utilizing native suppliers. Good, however we received’t start to make sense of the newest steerage round public exams till subsequent week a minimum of. You received’t blame us for being reluctant to place an excessive amount of in place at this ‘early’ stage, given the federal government’s monitor file of U-turns. For the second, we’ll proceed to concentrate on nurturing and galvanizing our unbelievable younger folks and making the selections which can be proper for them.
And if Ofsted decides to get in contact within the midst of all this, nice. They’ll eavesdrop on our college students proudly reciting Shelley’s phrases and demonstrating simply how a lot their schooling actually means to them, and us.
Look upon our works, ye Mighty, and hope!