A momentous day in March


A momentous day in March


Our CEO Mark Malley address Bellevue parents and carers in a moment of reflection on this most unusual of spring terms.

I’ve been doing this job for nearly 20 years and Monday 8th March 2021 will be recorded as one of my happiest – the day we welcomed pupils back to school.

There was a relief and excitement when in June last year we brought children back to our schools; it feels very different this time round. This lockdown has felt much more challenging – the shorter days and social restrictions have been difficult on us all. Some of us might have enjoyed aspects of the past few months – more time at home, fewer distractions. But for children, lockdown has been enormously hard. Some will have made that very obvious with their behaviour; others will not.

But I will never forget Monday 8th March. That day saw children running together holding hands, it saw children climbing on each other, it saw the rebuilding of critical friendships. Your child’s school was like a bottle of cola which had been shaken up
and down and on that Monday, the screw cap was removed. Children who, even at the school gates were apprehensive, nervous even, were straight away so happy they couldn’t stop smiling and laughing.

When children first returned to school there was some discussion about assessment to check the progress of pupils and whether this had matched teachers’ observations. Schools sensibly parked this for a week or two; everyone knew that easing children in gently and letting them acclimatise to school again was much, much more important. For a decade, our schools have worked hard to encourage independent learning – and over lockdown we saw the results (job done I think!).

But returning, we knew the days would feel long and we needed a more flexible approach. Some children had withdrawn over lockdown; some were bursting with energy; and all had to relearn the skills of teamwork and compromise. It’s not lost on me how difficult this period has been on you. I’m sure you’ve enjoyed spending more time with your children at home, but I also know you will have had concerns about their wellbeing.

We shared your worries but we pulled together – you and us – and did a great job. You should feel very proud of the part you played and I know we couldn’t have achieved what we did without you.

Thank you from me and all my colleagues across the Bellevue group.

Mark Malley, CEO