A very Happy New Year to you all. I do hope that you managed to enjoy a relaxing Christmas with your close families. 

A new term always has a sense of trepidation to it. After the rhythm of the holidays the routines will change and for a few days everything can seem a little at sea. The year past has indeed been tough; no one could have imagined that we would now be in a third lockdown, with the children’s learning again disrupted for an extended period of time. It is not at all how I expected to start my time here at St John’s but I have been humbled by the response of the staff who have once again shown their commitment to the school; switching their planning to embark upon remote learning is no mean feat. Thank you too for your patience and support, showing a true sense of community spirit; this is such an encouragement for all the staff at this time and we are enormously grateful. We will continue to do our utmost to provide your children with a remote learning programme that does indeed deliver the best outcomes. 

I still, however, feel energized and excited by all that is to come. I cannot change what is happening in the world, but I can make the most of what is in front of me. That is my challenge to all the children as we embark on a new term. Coping with unexpected adversity is testing for us all and it can be good to look back to those who can inspire us to persevere, show determination and support others. Helen Keller, for example, who at the age of two was left both blind and deaf, overcame incredible odds to become one of the most influential people in modern history. She toiled for 25 years to learn to talk whilst also mastering Braille, touch-lip reading, typing and finger spelling. If one is ever in need of some inspiration, her story is remarkable. 

I would love nothing more than to have every single child in school on Tuesday morning. We have a new outdoor classroom in place and plans a plenty to develop this wonderful school. However, I am reminded of this quote by John Quincy Adams, “Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.” If we can be patient, whilst showing perseverance akin to Helen Keller, then this time need not be wasted. I truly believe that by living in the moment we can make the very best of this very difficult time. This is merely a pause – it will pass.  

Building relationships is at the heart of any school and I know from my experience already of St John’s that it will be no different here. I want to continue to build our community; children valuing each other, going out of their way to “look through the window, not into the mirror”. To display real kindness that comes from a deep place, from a desire to help not hinder, to be useful in all things and to relish each and every day. Too often we demand that our children look to the future and forget to be present. I am passionate about living in the now; recognising that there are opportunities to be taken, kind acts to be done and learning to take place in this very moment. Covid has taken away so much from us but if we can encourage our children to take each day at a time and savour the opportunities given, then they will continue to grow and thrive.  

I know that the staff will do an outstanding job in delivering a remote learning programme that will be as engaging, interactive and fun as possible. We know that this is a challenging time for all families and we will do everything possible to help in whatever way we can. I am confident that we can all look forward to a better year to come and hopefully one which is happy, exciting and fulfilled, and a time when we will gather once more as a community together. 

With best wishes,