In respect of National Poetry Day last week, I am going to share with you one of my favourite poems by the inimitable Rudyard Kipland.
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with wornout tools;
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings—nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run—
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!
I think it’s fair to say that I am only just ‘keeping my head about me’!
Last week was another COVID rollercoaster - on Tuesday we believed we had a reported case in Year 8, only to be re-informed within an hour of sending students home, that this was not the case. I know that some parents will be worried about this confusion, or angry even. We are all working hard to get it as right as we can, as quickly as we can. I am sorry for any angst caused to you or your children by them leaving the premises half an hour earlier than planned under the impression they would not be back the next day. The good news is they were all back in the next day - enjoying their learning. As Tuesday rolled over into Wednesday and Thursday, we had a sense of normality again with Year 10 and 11 returning from self-isolation.
All of our amazing students, back in their classrooms, diligently working, listening, learning. It was so lovely to see them all - we really do miss them.
And then we hit Friday - another unique situation for us where this time we were informed before break, that a Year 7 student had tested positive for COVID-19. We wish this student all the best in their recovery.
We took a different approach with these, our youngest students and waited for parental permission to allow them to leave school at 11:10am that day. It was really helpful that the vast majority of parents received and replied to our text message so we knew what we were dealing with in school. The Year 7s were just brilliant. They were calm, sensible and quite happy to patiently wait for their safe time to leave. We have advised Year 7 parents that we will be working on our tracing system to enable as many Year 7 students as possible to return to school early this week.
Tracing students’ close contacts via seating plans helps us to identify those students who should be self-isolating and in turn those who can return to school. This process also involves a conversation with the student who has tested positive to identify any other close contacts such as those they may have encountered walking to/from school, during break or in the canteen. We hope that we will have identified this small group early next week and will be able to communicate to Year 7 parents if their child is able to return to school or needs to continue to self-isolate.
Whilst at home, all students should log into Google classroom for an 8:30am session with their form tutor. All their lessons should then follow their normal timetable either delivered live by the teacher or uploaded onto their Google classroom.
It was such a shame that our ‘full’ school didn’t last longer - but it seems that this is a new norm for us all, and we are likely to see other year groups isolating, for a much smaller time, whilst we identify close contacts.
So after a week of triumph and disaster, as you can imagine, the weekend was a welcome friend!
Until Saturday! Another positive case reported via our COVID-19 email - firstname.lastname@example.org.
Again, our thoughts go to the Year 11 student and their family. With any reported case, we must report to the Public Health England Protection team who provide us with their guidance on the steps that our school should take. Once we have this information, as with Year 7, we will work diligently to identify the close contacts so that other Year 11 students can return to school as soon as possible.
According to the Manchester Evening News this weekend, Kingsway is one of many schools located in a ‘hot spot’ area for COVID cases: “Stockport's COVID-19 hotspots clustered in the west of borough - nobody knows why”. Whilst the numbers in our area are nowhere near as high as other Manchester boroughs and there is no link to schools re-opening, we must continue to be vigilant and aware of the virus in our daily lives. Please help us help our community by making sure your child has a clean face covering for school each day, has hand sanitizer (or uses the ones provided in school) and most importantly do not send your child into school if they are displaying any of the COVID symptoms (fever, cough, loss of taste/smell).
It is also critical that parents notify us immediately if a student, or anyone in your household tests positive for COVID-19. Similarly if your child has symptoms and the outcome of the test is negative. If you are reporting a positive case, please inform us of the name and form of any siblings in our school. Thank you for your cooperation with this.
Finally, and off the COVID agenda, we have our first ever Virtual Open Evening this week taking place on Wednesday 7th October 2020. Please see our website for more information and enjoy the show!
If... I can dream… would I dream of an end of this COVID chaos? I would certainly dream of a happy, healthy, safe future for all my loved ones and my staff and students at Kingsway. Happy dreaming everyone.
Have a lovely week,