I hope that your week has been as positive as it can be. At this time in our history it might be difficult to feel awfully enthusiastic about your work, schooling and education. It’s very easy to be distracted. We will all have found ways of coping with the horrendous news coming at us from Eastern Europe. We’ll have found some nudges, some techniques and some strategies, which might just allow us to find a way of coping with how we have to work whilst being very conscious of what’s happening in the wider world. I admire the fact that the overwhelming majority of staff and pupils and students have been present and positive, day in and day out; working really hard with.
The past couple of weeks have encouraged me to think about the concept of duty and public service.
I know that there is a place for the private sector and those who work in the private sector do make such an enormous contribution to our communities, our society and the wider economy. There are many of us, though, who work in the public sector and in working in that public sector we understand that there is a concept of service. For many of us it didn’t need the Nolan principles (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-7-principles-of-public-life) to be written and asserted for us to understand what public duty meant and how, as a public servant, we ought to conduct ourselves in our work. Those of us who do work in the public sector know that there are benefits to that work: a sense of fulfilment, often a pension scheme, strong terms and conditions and, most importantly, a motivation and meaning to our days. However, we also understand what public service does not mean: the biggest pay packet, job stability, the very best working conditions and the like. There is always a balance to be had and most people, who choose to work in the public sector, understand that they are public servants and, by definition, offering the public a service.
At this time in our history it seems to me that it’s worthwhile reasserting that values, standards and principles do matter, especially in public life and in public service. We can and should be assertive in stating that public service does matter and, for the overwhelming majority of those in public service, it is not a means to gaining status, influence or personal gain. In this country we can be proud of the fact that we have a strong public sector, whose members / employees are driven by a desire to serve and that those professionals have a strong understanding of what that service means.
Metaphorically, when times are difficult it’s easy to put one’s head in the sand. Maybe with some aspects of recent events / news that might seem reasonable. However, it is equally reasonable to look at what it is that we value and yet, as a society, community or country we might take for granted.
The work of those who toil in our schools and our college is not taken for granted. Their contribution is valued. They do make a difference.
‘To give real service you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity.’ Douglas Adams