Reflecting on the first half term: Our CEO’s letter to parents
With England now in a second national lockdown, I find myself reflecting more and more about what happened back in the spring.
Evidence is now mounting up about the inequalities of lockdown and the huge impact it had on children’s lives. So many children went without any education at all, with devastating consequences for them socially, educationally and in mental health terms, which will affect their lives for years to come.
At Bellevue schools, our priority was to educate our pupils come what may, and I am incredibly proud to say that we did just that. Leading the sector, our schools delivered online lessons, live lessons, digital story time, and more. Embracing technology, our teachers led from the front in and kept pupils engaged, motivated and in touch. This was no mean feat. But your children were also incredible. They were resilient, learning new digital skills incredibly quickly and adjusting to a very different educational set up. They were attentive – and we all know how much harder it is to concentrate when everything is screen-based – and kind, and kept each other going when the going got tough. I hope that you are very proud of them.
I am also incredibly proud of our teaching staff, whose monumental efforts ensured the best possible education being delivered digitally and positioning the group as a leader in the UK, and I know that you will want to join me in thanking each and every staff member for all their hard work and dedication. Many of you were facing hugely challenging circumstances yourselves during lockdown, and I hope that knowing that your child was our number one priority was some comfort.
Since being back at school, your children have been magnificent. I have visited nearly every school in the group and have seen everywhere a commitment to ‘business as usual’ – of course, there are mitigations in place to ensure schools are safe and following protocols, but the learning is fun and dynamic and children are receiving a full and round education. Our central education team continues to safely conduct two-day visits of each school to offer support and share best practice. It is this ethos, this togetherness, that makes Bellevue so strong.
During the spring lockdown, Heads and teachers from across the group came together to come up with new ideas that would benefit everyone. If we learned anything (other than dramatically improving our Google Meet skills) it was that supportive networks are absolutely pivotal, to both individuals and to ways of working. And these supportive networks extended to you, too – we had so many positive messages from parents which made such a difference to teachers and were hugely appreciated, and we also know that many of you stepped in to help other parents who were going through a tough time. If there is one positive thing to take out of lockdown, it is this: the incredible community spirit that makes Bellevue schools such wonderful places to learn and work.
Which leaves me, finally, to say a thank you to our tireless Heads. Their determination to open schools and offer a full and rich curriculum has been inspirational. Professional, entrepreneurial, committed, resilient and, quite simply, an amazing bunch of people, I could not be prouder to work with them. Whatever happens in the coming months, I know that we’ll navigate through it, putting your children’s education front and centre in everything we do.
Mark Malley, CEO