Westonbirt Headmistress, Natasha Dangerfield, reflects on the challenge of managing change when our young people most crave consistency and routine
As term begins once again here at Westonbirt, the photo above, shared by our marketing team this morning, reminded me how important the reflective period has been this break.
There has not been a time like this; leaders in schools have had to manage change and inconsistency, when we reiterate how important routine and boundaries are for childhood development. This has been one of the reconciliations I have been working through. There is no doubt that the importance of developing grit and resilience in children, which in turn supports their ability to cope with change, is borne out of us firming that foundation first. The pandemic has not allowed so many of our teenagers the opportunity to firm those foundations and so it is little wonder that educators report students struggling with anxiety issues or in some cases a loss of self identity.
As schools, we remain somewhat in limbo – to TAG or not to TAG, or which final curriculum content is to be examined – consistency is not something we are experiencing. And so we have to fall back on what we know works: the support that our teaching teams continue to deliver regardless, the energy which the children bring and the sense of character which we can still go on priming in them with positive lessons in maintaining optimism, keeping communication channels open and working hard. These traits will be enduring and if we therefore have any time to reflect – perhaps it should be on how we are keeping these key skills turning so that we are placing something of value in that foundation.