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Reflections on the Covid-19 Pandemic: a Headteacher's Perspective

Today was a busy day! Learning starts early at All Saints'. I came to school dressed ready for rugby. With such a busy day ahead, it is difficult to fit everything in so we have an 8am rugby session to help our school team be the best it can be.

Before long, the school is waking up more widely. Year 4 have an opera teacher working with them in preparation for a performance in a few weeks. Year 6 are eager to complete their SATS test and this requires careful management. Sausage sandwiches before they start ensure that they are well fed and on time for school. Good luck to them all! Lunchtime is a lively affair with children from all year groups mixing in the playground. The vegetable patch is thriving and a troop of mixed-aged children march with spades in hand to the front garden. The afternoon is routinely unpredictable with science lessons, art lessons, extra maths and reading activities - all sorts. I am having a face-to-face meeting with some new parents who have just moved to the area followed by a whole school assembly with the vicar.

It's exhausting and marvellous and none of this was possible during the lockdown.

In early March 2020, I had a Governors meeting in which I said that we should deviate from the agenda to focus on our response to this new virus in the news. Governors were exasperated - we needed to review the school improvement plan! It doesn’t matter I said, we will be shut by Easter. We closed our school on 23rd March.

During the years of the pandemic, priorities changed to infection control, setting up and managing remote learning and supporting colleagues, children, parents and loved ones traumatised by isolation and fear. Contradictory, unmanageable and rapidly changing guidance became a source of frustration for all, but the urgency of the situation meant that Heads were empowered to make decisions that they knew would be right for their situation. It was an honour to lead during these difficult times and I wouldn't have wanted anyone else to have taken charge. However, it wasn't what I expect to do as a leader of a primary school.

None of today's exciting activities was possible during the pandemic. I have to shift my mindset back to the role of Headteacher. This has always been a challenging role, and yes frustrating at times, but it is an important job and I am glad to return to it!

Blog post finished...back to the chalk face!

Editor's Note: This piece is part of a series shared by BELS recognising and celebrating the hard work and dedication of schools, settings, teachers, and senior leaders across Barnet over the past two years. Continue to visit our site in the coming weeks to read perspectives from other senior leaders across the Borough. BELS would like to thank all who work in the education profession for their tireless work throughout the pandemic to continue providing the best experience possible for pupils.

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