That Was The Year That Was


It really has been quite the year for everyone, including the young people, parents, and teachers at or involved with schools.

Right from the go last September things were rearranged to try and minimise the risks to people. And so we all had to do things in schools so differently, including:

  • Social distancing and staggered starts and ends to the day meant important informal interactions with other people couldn’t happen
  • Teachers teaching from the front to pupils arranged in rows facing them, and staying in their “box” to keep a safe distance away
  • Timetablers performing magic, and staff showing flexibility, to ensure pupils were taught in their bubbles and movement between rooms kept to a minimum
  • Being prepared to teach or learn in person or remotely at any time – or a mixture of both – if a bubble “burst”
  • Never quite knowing who would be in school on any given day – pupils or staff
  • Running Covid Testing and teaching children to do lateral flow tests
  • Dealing with positive test cases and then tracking down close contacts
  • Moving from exams to teacher-assessed grades – taking pupils and parents along with this, capturing the necessary evidence, and becoming mini-exam boards in the process
  • “Catch up” interventions started for millions, whilst pupil absence and bubble closures continued
  • And much, much, more…

All this has been on top of the all-important business day-to-day pastoral and academic business. Pupils have been kept safe and kept on learning.

They may not have covered as much of the curriculum as their teachers hoped, but they end the year smarter and more knowledgeable than they started it. In the midst of everything, this is a pretty incredible achievement.

On top of this, schools haven’t stood still. They’ve used whatever capacity they had to continue to improve their culture and curriculum. Come September, pupils will return to and benefit further from this.

This could only happen because parents and teachers pulled together for pupils.

There have been communication cock-ups, U-turns, and endless demands made of those on the front line. Everyone is exhausted and frustrated with the situation, and understandably keen to see the end of it. And yet still they have persisted.

Given all this, it is probably going to take quite some time and distance before we can properly appreciate quite how impressive the response to things has been. The mistakes and upset are fresh in our minds, making it harder to see the successes. But 2020-21 has been an incredible year – and one that people can be proud of.

For now though – rest…