Happy New Year
I know it must feel like a lifetime since you were dancing and singing, as you welcomed the new year in, some 12 days ago, but it’s worth offering that greeting, nonetheless – it’s just polite and the ‘right thing to do’. I do very much hope that the break did you some good. I certainly think that the time after the new year celebration felt like a rare treat. I know that the run up to the break was long and, sometimes, arduous, but it kind of felt worth it come 2nd January onwards. Whatever you did, or did not do, that week, I hope it recharged those batteries.
The thing about our world, though, is that once we are back, we are back. There’s no long run at it or, as others do in other environments, no sliding towards a full working week. Our schools, our college, the staff, are at it from 8am the first Monday and stay at it until the last child/young person has walked out of the door Friday afternoon/evening. And the children and young people have been back at it this week. They’ll have worked at pace. They’ll have been focused. They’ll have been determined.
And what about those New Year’s Resolutions? Were they made? If they were… Are they still being maintained/honoured? No resolutions for me this year; nothing formal or stated. There’s the ongoing determination to run further, run faster (that’s a pipe dream these days, as the age thing does get in the way). There’s some vague promise to do all those jobs that need doing around the house (those that know me know that there’s no point to that this year). There’s a commitment to make more of the time away from work; maybe read more, watch less football.
I can tell you what has been important for me as we move into 2024. I have a renewed determination to make sure that the work that we all do has a more significant impact; for our children, for our young people and for our communities. 2024 will be an important year. There will be a General Election and whatever the outcome there will be a renewed focus on schools and schooling. We believe in what we do, what we offer. And I want to make sure that Sitwell Junior School, Winterhill School, Oakwood High School and Thomas Rotherham College are offering the very best educational experiences to the children/ young people of this community. The more things might change the more we need them to stay the same. The political ‘white noise’ cannot distract us from our core purpose, from what we believe in. And to ensure that the schools and the college are rightly recognised as being the excellent educational establishments we all know them to be. I am going to need your resolve (not resolution). I am going to need everyone to do their best, be their best, each and every day. I am going to need you all to shout loudly, to anyone who’ll listen, about the quality of the provision, the professionalism and determination of our staff and of our pupils and students. I am going to need everyone’s energy, determination, spark and belief. We all will need for the wider community, the town, the borough, the region, to hear about what we do and, most importantly, how we do it!
I feel energised by the new year. I feel energised by our mission. I look forward to continuing to work with you all. I look forward to marvelling at excellence. It’s not necessarily time for resolutions. It’s certainly not time for revolutions. But it may just be time for recognition.
‘You get a new year, you get a new start, you get a new opportunity’. Billy Butler