Welcome back to this first newsletter of the 2021/21 academic year. I am writing this passage on a lovely sunny afternoon after walking around the school site. The school is full of students and there is a calm, purposeful atmosphere throughout. The new Year 7s are taking an afternoon break eating ice creams on the grass. Year 10 are practising their athletic skills and Year 11 are engaged in algebra – well most of them! This is how a school should be. It seems as if we are almost back to normal but there have been many, many changes and adaptions to ensure we can both conform with national guidance, reduce the risks to all, and offer the best teaching we can under the present constraints.
We are under no illusion, we have a difficult year ahead. Already APS staff have altered their working days so that students’ break and lunch are now part of their working day. How else would we accommodate 14 different sittings a day in our canteens? Other staff are sitting at home, frustrated whilst in self isolation due to clear regulations we all must follow. There will be times when students, classes or year groups will unfortunately have to remain at home. We will work through these challenges. This year many things are new, but what remains the same is that APS staff will go above and beyond to make a positive difference to students’ learning.
My advice to all is to take this year one day at a time. I am encouraging staff to show patience, flexibility and empathy – I would ask families to do the same. We are all working through a new situation, but it feels good to be back as a team again, doing what we do best.