Keep these two words in mind: unique and beautiful. Now, let Miss Gilmour put these two words into context . . .
It has been a demanding year academically. We began the Autumn term with new rules in place for everyone’s safety; social distancing, wearing masks where, and when, appropriate, using hand sanitiser just about everywhere one went. The staff and pupils did what they could to minimise the spread of anything COVID related and they all did it well.
Then another lockdown occurred after Christmas and we were back to online teaching. Many found this adjustment difficult to cope with a second time but, again, we rallied as a school community and we did our best. March 8th arrived and we were able to welcome everyone back to school. It was lovely to see smiling faces, year groups enjoying being with their friends again after so long, and, of course, it was great to see our pupils back in classrooms, interacting with each other and staff members.
Obviously, this has been a most challenging year for our exam classes, predominantly year 11 and year 13. Traditional exams have not run for the second year in a row but that does not mean that there have been no examinations. On the contrary, the pupils have faced a multitude of tests across their subject range. These, combined with previous work, either during lockdown or from the year before, are giving staff the data needed to determine their final grade. These will be decided over the next few weeks as the count down to June 18th begins. This is the deadline for all entries at GCSE and GCE levels. This is when all their hard work will pay off and they will receive the grade they truly deserve.
I have heard the term ‘snowflake‘ used for this current generation, meaning that they are less resilient, have an unwarranted sense of entitlement and often fall at the first hurdle. However, the evidence of their determined natures has been clear to see over the last 18 months. This generation of pupils has had to deal with unprecedented situations at a time when this age group are often at their most vulnerable; bodies are changing, hormones are raging, feelings and emotions are running high. And they have had to cope with all of this in lockdown, unable to get out and experience new things, as older generations were able to do.
Have they struggled? Have some suffered with mental health issues? Have they found examinations difficult? Yes, to all of the above but they have also found new strengths they didn’t realise they had. Despite the circumstances, they will leave us as well-rounded people who have a regard for others, are willing to listen to others and, above all, are ready to face the next new challenge. These ‘snowflakes’ are unique and beautiful; each one in their own way.
Adele Gilmour, Deputy Head, Pastoral