Friday 20th March 2020
For many of our students in Years 11 and 13, today is an emotional roller coaster ride. They have been talking about how they will feel about school life coming to an end for quite a while now, with the sense that they still had weeks to process what that means for them. And then, suddenly, we were all propelled into a new state of affairs with something happening beyond our control (and we really don't like not being in control!). For these students, this is more than just social distancing: walking a few paces apart or talking to their grandparents online or through a window. For many, today marks the end of a transitional phase in their lives. They have spent two, five or, in many cases, seven years together: making and changing friendships, working their socks off (and sometimes not!), and talking a lot - these kids are smart and they really know how to talk! For many of them, this is a day for goodbyes, and it's upon them sooner than it should have been. It's their leaver's assembly, the last afternoon together 'socialising', study leave, exams and results day all rolled into one. They have questions we can't answer, and they have to try and find some 'closure', as the Americans call it.
That feeling will come later down the line, but it will be based on the words spoken, photos snapped, and the affection and tears shared today. In days to come, they will feel the loss of comfortable friends, inspirational teachers and the regular structure of NHGS life, where we really have tried to create a second family for them. And parents, they may need our support - a listening ear - and we will try to be there for them, as we too come to terms (more quickly than we anticipated) with them leaving school and moving on to the next phase of their lives. However, they will also be able to stay connected to each other in a way us oldies never could. Those pesky mobile phones are going to come in useful! They will message and call each other just as often (maybe more?!); they will go old-school and knock a football around like ten-year-olds or cycle together (all at a safe distance); they will make/bake/compose/create with minds free from revision! They are young and will find the silver lining.
Parents, you can be very proud of your children; they have come far and will go much further (you only need to look back at those year 7 pictures to see the difference!). They will inspire, create and move the world forwards. They are a credit to you. It has been my pleasure to get to know and support many of these beautiful, funny, brilliant students along the way and, even though I can't be in school, I am with them today. I will miss them, but I know they will find the closure they seek:
The love you get
That love you give
Shall visit in the times you live
And you will know when sign be right to fill the dark up with the light
from 'Closure' by Scarlet Monaghan
Thursday 19th March 2020
Hi everyone in the NHGS family,
Well, these are certainly challenging times we are living through. Initially, being at home might seem straight-forward, better maybe than being in school even?! However, that feeling might not last. We may miss our friends and the regular structure of each day. We might find it hard to separate school work - yes, there will still be some ;) - with the rest of our lives. We will have increased family time, which might be fantastic... or challenging at times. As the situation develops, it's going to be important to take care of ourselves and make sure we get what we need. We should probably have a think about what that is.
As a starting point, here is a helpful pack of ideas for how to manage this situation. I will be sending more information over the coming days and weeks so that you all continue to feel supported in the usual NHGS way. Please feel free to email me if a chat would help; I will be online during normal school hours. Telephone counselling with me is also available to all students; just email me if you think that might help.
Keep checking your emails and take good care,