07 Jan 2022
Senior High Notes 7th January 2022
Happy New Year! It has been wonderful to welcome back our students this week for the new term. We started the term with a whole school assembly with everyone, from pre-school up to Sixth Form, joining on Teams. We had hoped to be able to slowly start to bring back in-person events such as assemblies and occasions with parents coming into school, at the beginning of this term. Unfortunately the latest, more transmissible variant of Covid has led to us postponing these plans, hopefully only for a short while. I will keep everyone informed of any changes to our current safety measures.
My assembly focused on the link between three things – Will Smith, an elephant and 2022. Like many people, my family and I stayed up on Friday night to see in the New Year - I particularly enjoy watching the London fireworks display on TV. New Year’s Eve is a good opportunity to look back at the year just gone, reflecting on the highs and lows, and then to look forward to what might happen in the new year ahead. There can be a temptation to say I don’t want to move to a new year, I am happy where I am, I don’t want to get older! Looking ahead at the whole of 2022 can be quite daunting.
Desmond Tutu wisely once said “there is only one way to eat an elephant: a bite at a time”. What he meant by this is that everything in life that seems daunting, overwhelming and even impossible can be accomplished gradually by taking on just a little at a time.
One of my New Year’s resolutions is to read more. For Christmas, Santa gave me Will Smith’s autobiography, which I started to read last week. The first chapter, titled “The Wall”, describes a lesson Will and his brother Harry learnt as children, when their father got them to build a wall. Every day for a year, come rain or shine, they had to work together to build this wall. They did everything from digging the footings, mixing the mortar and carrying the buckets. Will Smith describes often looking at the hole, feeling totally discouraged thinking they will never be able to finish building the wall. One day, Will and his brother were complaining, saying this is impossible. Their father said “stop worrying about the wall. Your only concern is one brick”. It took time but Will Smith came to realise that his father was absolutely right. When you focus on the wall, the job feels unmanageable, never-ending, but when you focus on one brick, everything gets easier, he knew how to lay one brick well.
So whether you are building a wall, eating an elephant or looking ahead to 2022, the key to success is taking it one step at a time.
L6 / Y12 Truly Educated News
On Thursday afternoon we were visited by Nafeesah, who is the Schools Engagement and Outreach Officer at the University of Nottingham. The session was on the UCAS application process and in particular, what to include and how to write an effective Personal Statement. Nafeesah also talked about the importance of open days, visiting University facilities in person wherever possible. This session was the first of the next round of assisting L6 research and plan for the next stages in their lives, and they gave an excellent account of themselves this week, as always. Many thanks to Dr. Ngwerume for arranging this visit.
NEW: Report Harmful Content button on the website
Report Harmful Content (a service run by the UK Safer Internet Centre) is pleased to introduce a new, innovative and accessible way for users to report legal but harmful material online. The Report Harmful Content button is a quick and simple method for helping anyone to report offensive or harmful material online, no matter where they are. You can find the button on our website, at the bottom of the home page within the “useful links” section. You can find out more about the initiative here: Report Harmful Content Releases Reporting Button For Organisations and School Settings (swgfl.org.uk)
Digital Family Agreement - from Alan MacKenzie, Safeguarding expert
A digital family agreement is one way in which parents can strike up conversations with their children and agree online boundaries, such as time, phones at the table etc. This sets clear rules for the child and when broken, they will understand that there can be consequences.
London Grid for Learning have put together a new digital family agreement which you can use as a template: link HERE.