Are we nearly there yet?

Time, said Doctor Who in one of his / her more recent incarnations, is not so much a straight progression of cause to effect, ‘but actually from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint, it’s more like a big ball of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff’.

You must be experiencing this yourself as the world goes through (and that’s a positive move –we are ‘going through’ not ‘stuck in’) the Covid-19 crisis.

One day is very much like the previous now, and the next is shaped to be a repeat of the previous two. Wednesday today? Saturday tomorrow? We would expect to have achieved things in a relative period of time – washing on certain days, ironing on another, weekly shop on Fridays after work, swimming lessons on Saturday and dance class Thursdays at 7:00, and so on. Much of that seems gone for now. We know, we are assured, that our collective efforts and commitments are making a difference to help us come out of the crisis sooner than we might, less damaged than we might and more of us than we might be.

It is human nature, though, to be asking what’s next, and wanting some definitive answer to when and how we get back to where we once were (just six weeks ago, in fact).  I am well-aware that there are multiple possibilities for what we might be directed to do, to seek, to implement, possibly as many possibilities as people in any conversation.  It turns out fairly often that we get asked to implement  something that we did not foresee and to implement it in a manner wold did not envisage, and so some of our preparations are wrong, unnecessary and even unhelpful.

We have, of course, given time to discuss the fundamentals of a return to school for all pupils;  we have talked about issues related to staff well-being, to re-establishing routines and expectations, curricula issues, children’s different experiences during lockdown, safeguarding, transition, Special Needs and staffing. There are conversations taking place about classes for next year, where we pick up learning, summer holiday ‘clubs’  and so on.

The truth is, though, that we are no further forward with a plan nor a timeline. We are confident that all tunnels have light at the end; we just do not know how long this particular tunnel will turn out to be. We are one week further along from the start and therefore one week nearer the end, but this effort is like one of those mountains with a succession of false summits, a tunnel that twists and turns or The Doctor’s ‘wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff’; we still do not know how far away the end of things is.

Of course safety, health and well-being will be top of the list when a decision is made. Of course there will be a sensible, understanding approach taken in working with parents. Of course there will be some flexibility around different contexts. Of course there will have to be a period of settling back in. Of course some things will have changed while others stayed the same. Making sure that children and adults alike are safe will be the top concern, however. I just don’t know when, or in what order, or how.

A strange and cloudy message this week –I don’t really know too much, but neither do any of my Headteacher colleagues. Once we do you will be sure to hear about it straight away.

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