Almost Easter, not quite Eid.

The spring term is rattling towards its conclusion. We’ve got four days to go until we break for Easter and that well-earned rest period. Whoever we are, whatever we do, there will be some time for us to take it that little bit easier and find some opportunities for rest, relaxation and family interactions. You know that I would say this but it’s worth reminding and repeating; we need to make sure that all that we do, as we work through to that break, is marked by a continued commitment to our schools, our college and education; being present in body, being present in mind.

It’s been a terrifically busy term and this week has been busier than many others. You all have had a significant amount on, much of that over and above the usual daily work with children and young people. That’s what we do. You can all be reassured that the experiences that we want for our children and young people go beyond excellence in the classroom (although, we know, that’s the most important thing!), but it isn’t and shouldn’t be an either/or. We want our children, our young people to grow up into well-rounded, mature and positive adults who can make a meaningful contribution to our communities and our economy. We do that by offering all those other things that make a significant difference.  That includes the formal; the after-school activities, the extracurricular opportunities and the during the school/college day interventions. It is also much more subtle than that. It’s all those interactions, where we teach our children and young people what it means to be polite, or caring, or interested, or sensitive, or accepting of difference, whilst celebrating all that is similar. All that makes for an excellent educational experience.

It would be wrong of me not to thank and congratulate all of our colleagues and students at Thomas Rotherham College for their blooming hard work over this past week. Many, if not all, of you will know TRC has undergone an intensive four-day Ofsted inspection. Although that’s typical in the six-form sector, it is an enormous challenge, nonetheless. As we might expect it has been terrifically rigorous. And, I’ve no doubt that the outcome will be a fair reflection of the hard work that so many colleagues have put in over a significant period of time. In whatever way you may have been involved and for all the contributions that you’ve made this week I say: thank you!

What we really do understand, in our schools and in the college, within this trust, is that the likes of Ofsted just see us at a moment. That moment is typically as we would present day in and day out. What is absolutely necessary and life enhancing is the work that takes place every single day, directly and indirectly, with our pupils and our students, over a sustained period of time. We don’t work to those snapshot moments, we work with a commitment to changing lives, lifting aspirations, with and for our children and young people, with and for our communities. It’s by those metrics that will and should be tested and judged. I know, you know, that we are enormously invested in, and committed to, our communities. We affect real change in our communities, through our work with our children and our young people. Every single one of us, whatever our role, has a contribution to make, is encouraged to make that contribution, is celebrated for that contribution and you are recognised and thanked for your commitment to that collective endeavour.

We can go into this weekend, knowing that this week, in particular, we will have put in a decent shift. We’ve got four more days of hard work before we can break for Easter.

I just wanted to also take time to recognise that many of our Muslim children, young people, friends and colleagues are still in the depths of the strictures of the holy month of Ramadan. I know that Eid al-Fitr is on the horizon but it is still a few weeks away. Your tolerance, discipline and personal sacrifice is to be admired by us all. I wish you the very best of luck over the next few weeks and hope to be celebrating Eid with you later on in April.

‘I’m always hungry for the next thing. I’m never resting on my laurels.’ Constance Wu