Thank you for your efforts this week. This is a long and challenging half term that we are now over halfway to the October break. As of Monday, we will be working in October and the holiday will be within touching distance. As I discussed last week, the closing of the night, the challenges of the weather and the length of the half term to make this a particularly challenging time in school, in college, out and about. For your patience, tolerance and commitment to your work, our children and young people, thank you.
Today I feel it’s right to comment upon the difficulties we are all facing with the very real cost of living crisis. Tomorrow (Saturday) is the day when the energy cap should have been lifted; presenting us all with significant and crippling energy costs. Even though there is a price cap now in place we are still facing eye watering energy bills over this winter. And we know there will be people in our communities who are seriously considering decisions that they need to take; do I turn the heating on, or leave it off; do I eat or not. These are very real and very present dangers.
As schools and a college, we face incredible costs this year. Our energy charges have gone through the roof. We are working hard to reduce ongoing fixed and variable costs and we are finding savings where we can. We need everyone to play their part. We need every adult, every child and every young person to think carefully about how we could become more sustainable and how we could reduce, in the short, medium and long-term, energy costs and usage.
We are proud that we have gained the status of an accredited living wage employer. We want to pay all of our staff what they are worth; the pay is always well earned. However, you will know that we haven’t been given significant extra funds to meet any of the mooted pay awards or rising energy costs and so further tightening of our belts will be necessary to ensure that we can maintain our employment and resourcing levels.
And resources! As you will know from your weekly supermarket shop, almost everything is significantly more expensive than it was just a year ago. Paper, for example, has nearly doubled in price. We will continue to ensure that all lessons are as well prepared as possible and we know that we need to resource those lessons accordingly; however, saving something on resources each and every day soon adds up to significant savings for the school, college and the trust. As the very large supermarket might say ‘every little helps’. Again, your help and support in this respect is very much welcome
In addition to the challenges that we face we do know that many of our children and young people will be living in family situations which they will find incredibly difficult (if not impossible) to manage. Many parents and carers will be finding it difficult to make ends meet, in the coming weeks and months. We know that our schools and college will provide warmth and a decent meal where that might not be possible at home. The stresses and tensions may well spill over into our schools and college. We will always maintain our standards and expectations, which we would have for every single one of our learners. That said, we might just need to show some understanding of the challenges that children and young people might be facing this winter. We’ll help everyone navigate these ridiculously choppy waters.
We cannot control what the national government will do. We cannot control how the international markets might respond to those governmental policies. But we can do our very best in support of our children, young people, their families, the wider community and ourselves.
‘Any idiot can face a crisis – it’s day to day living that wears you out’. Anton Chekhov
Thank you for doing your very best and working with us to ensure that we offer a service which goes beyond just teaching and learning.