17 Jul

Countdown to summer

At the end of what for some of us has been a traumatic week, in respect of the football at least, I do not want to dwell on World Cup issues. Let’s move on from that. I’ve only another 28 years to wait until being able to watch my next World Cup semi-final. I can cope with that.

As the summer progresses and the weather continues to hold we might take some time just to look ahead to what the summer holidays might bring. We have all earned the right to have a relaxing and rewarding summer break. We understand that the pupils, the parents and the staff need that summer break to come right now.

It’s been a while since I have reflected upon how complicated our working world is and how challenging schools can be. In making any observations neither I nor do any of the staff body want to make an excuse. We know the reality of the world within which we work, however it is occasionally useful just to consider how complicated and how challenging school life can be.

Schools are a microcosm of the world within which we live. Here at Oakwood we know that there are many circumstances within which we do it significantly better job with our children than may well be expected but we cannot divorce ourselves from the realities of the world within which we live. Children arrive at school, each and every day, with a whole host of issues. Almost every single one of those issues has absolutely nothing to do with the school, the school cannot be held responsible for and yet the school are expected to manage and sort. This, it seems to me, is a reflection of times in which we live. Far too often across the country, fuelled by the media and by irrational individuals, we accept an overt blame culture. This is illustrated by some politicians, who on an almost daily basis look to re-frame the societal narrative. Some of those individuals spend their time creating disturbance and look to destabilise as a way of creating the opportunity to rebuild the political and societal construct. That approach is often brought into school. Individuals (and that’s the adults as much as it is the children) want somebody to blame and take very little responsibility for their own or the children’s behaviours. It’s never their fault. It’s always someone else’s fault and it’s our problem …’so sort it!’ If after attempting to get it sorted we do not offer them a solution in which they are either comfortable or the winner then we get further anger and mock distress. If that does not get the response they demand we then get threatened with a whole host of ‘bodies’ –Ofsted, the LA. This is an intentional approach to threaten and undermine.

We are strong and we stay strong. We know what we believe to be correct. We understand what we want to achieve within our school community. No matter how hard it is we stand shoulder to shoulder with those adults and young people who want to get the best out of an educational experience here at Oakwood High School.

We can go into our summer holiday, when it comes, knowing that we’ve held onto our principles and remained true to our ethos and our vision. We will not be diverted or derailed. We will stay committed to doing it in the right way and getting right day in and day out. I could not do that without you all. For that I thank you.

‘When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier.’ Roy E. Disney