‘Tis the season…

Education Director David Williams reflects on 2020, and wishes staff across the Bellevue family a merry and restful Christmas break.

A year ago today, I was nearing the end of my time as a head and possibly experiencing Christmas in a school for the last time. The beauty of school life, especially in an all-through school, is that you actually get two Christmases with nativities, carol services, lunches and fayres, Secret Santas and the staff end-of-term meal or drinks, before collapsing and starting all over again with friends and family. Therefore, the January restart after the Christmas “break” was always tough. There was the feeling that batteries were only half-recharged, and tasks that had been planned for the holidays never quite happened.

All is different of course in 2020, as we mourn the loss of events and activities that we had taken for granted as part of our year or, in many cases, the highlight of the calendar, as school communities came together to celebrate and reflect on what has happened over the course of the last term.

Over the last year, people have often asked Gregg and myself whether we miss being heads. We respond by saying “yes”, in being a daily part of the unique and vibrant setting that is a school environment; but “no” in 2020, contemplating having to be leaders taking decisions at the forefront of a global pandemic, or teachers coping with such added burdens as ‘bubble’ management. Yet despite the challenges of a hugely taxing term, much as the spirit in our schools has seen us through the darkest moments of Covid-19 and lockdown, the creativity, ingenuity and effort of Bellevue staff have produced a different type of end of term. There have been virtual parents evenings (better, I hear!), live-streamed nativities and expertly choreographed carol services, ensuring that our children and parents have still experienced a school Christmas – albeit a different one.

More than ever, we hope that all staff have a well-deserved break and will have the opportunity to imbibe some real bubbles (in the appropriate ‘bubbles’, of course) and that, buoyed by the recent V-Day, we can come back in the New Year with a real sense of optimism for 2021. Have a wonderful Christmas.