The waters have started to calm since we arrived back from our Easter break. The storms of lockdown and disease that buffeted our school during the last year or so are subsiding to the familiar squalls of teenage tribulations and tantrums. There is no doubt that the damage caused by such a turbulent period has been acute; we are only now beginning to take full inventory of the gaps in learning, the fragility of mental health and some of the fissures that have deepened in the family circumstances of our young people. It is safe to say that we will be offering ballast to our young people in the months and years ahead. We have remained resilient, in the words of Elizabeth Edwards the school has, “stood in the storm and when the wind did not blow her way, she adjusted her sails.”.
It is now time for us to adjust our sails, away from the storm and to calmer shores. Opportunity lies ahead of us, both as a school and as a profession. It is clear that many of the old realities of schooling have changed and there is a fresh focus on what is really important. While the need for our young people to have core skills and crucial knowledge remains, there will need to be new ways of assessing these things. We will also need to focus more on developing resilience and giving our young people the self-confidence and core life skills that are often denied those in the state sector. The challenges will be difficult and adjusting our sails may take some time; it is important however, as we have learned, that storms are always on the horizon.