Making spirits bright

How can our headteachers and team leaders continue to inspire positivity, in what has been a challenging year right to its end? Our Head of Digital Development Adam Atkinson, former Assistant Head (Pastoral) at Gateway School, shares his thoughts.

I am sure that many of you will be glad to think of 2020 coming to a close. As leaders, you have all had to deal with difficult situations and been forced to work in ways that no one could have foreseen. Unfortunately, at least the start of 2021 is most likely to be just as challenging for you and your staff.

As I write this in the staffroom at Bruern Abbey School, I can hear teachers talking about the dinner that was held for American Thanksgiving with the boys last night. Perhaps now is a good time to pause, reflect and give thanks for what has been achieved this year. 

As a group of schools in a challenging climate, we have weathered the storm. Our parents have appreciated all of the hard work that our community has done for their children. Our remote learning was hugely successful. We were able to continue to provide a quality education when many other schools struggled. As a result our admissions across the group have stayed strong, which is no mean feat! When our pupils returned to school, our cleaners, kitchen staff, groundskeepers and in fact our whole community, worked tirelessly to ensure the safety of our pupils.

There is no doubt that this hard work has taken a toll both physically and mentally on all of us. How do we help our staff to remain positive and help them prepare to return to work after a well-earned Christmas break?

The key for me is communication. It is important that all members of all our schools understand the role that they have played in helping our schools continue to thrive in challenging times. We are used to filtering the information that we share with our staff. Being open and honest allows staff to understand that we all have worries and although our decisions are not always perfect, the decisions that we have made are to look after our most valuable asset, our staff.

When I put my ‘teaching hat’ back on and think about what I would have liked to have heard from my Head, some of these things might include:

  • Positive enrolment stats
  • Words of praise from parents 
  • Your own experiences from this year
  • The roles that each of the departments played in your school’s success
  • How much you value staff and appreciate their efforts
  • That you are prepared to listen to them about any worries that they may have, regardless of whether they are related to school or not
  • That our success has been a team effort with everybody playing their part

Bellevue’s motto ‘Together We Can’ has never been truer. Thanks to our community this year, ‘Together We Did!’