Winter Warmth

I know that at this time of the year going into school or college, any educational establishment, can feel like dragging a heavyweight up the hill, in the snow and in the cold. It’s been a long old run since the half term already, and for many of us that’s on top of a long half term from a September return after the summer break. I wanted to take the opportunity today to say thank you. I know and recognise that it isn’t easy getting in, supporting the children and young people day in and day out, whatever you do, whatever your role, whatever your relationship. It takes a great deal of personal motivation to lift yourself up out of bed in the morning and get yourself into school or college. The overwhelming majority of you do that each and every day, with a smile on your face and bringing that good humour, positive interactions with the adults and, especially, with your friends and other classmates.

Unless you spend that much time in a school or college, you don’t really understand the attritional nature of the experiences. You may know friends and family who work in different employment sectors looking to dip out of school or college at this time of year. Maybe just to catch up on that Christmas shopping or take a duvet day. Their working habits, terms and conditions, may allow for that. We, however, all need to be ‘at it’ first thing Monday morning and stay ‘on It’ right through until the end of play Friday afternoon. It’s never easy, even in those lovely warm summer months. The attritional nature, the wearing away each and every day of the sheen you bring, is noticeable, especially at this time of year.

So, for all that and all that you do, I do thank you. I’m absolutely sure that you will take the opportunity to find a way of supporting your friends and the staff in school, in college and across the institutions.  In doing so, and remembering that we are in the people business, and it’s how we interact and treat our friends and the adults which makes all the difference. It makes the difference to your teachers – that’s for sure! It makes a difference to your parents and the wider community – yes! But it also makes a difference to the person sat next to you; in the classroom, or just down the corridor, or those who walk in with you on a morning. We all stand shoulder to shoulder facing our challenges head on. We do so knowing that we will have the support of our friends and the teachers and other adults in our school, or college. There are (trust me) so many people looking out for you throughout the year, but especially at this time of year. Feel reassured by that and feel that you can do that little bit more, go the extra mile, knowing that your friends, your parents and carers and the staff will be there to catch you, should you stumble.

We need a significant extra push through until the end of term. We’ve got two school/college weeks to go until we finish on Friday 22nd. It’s a long old haul and almost Christmas Day by the time we eventually break up.  Making it more difficult (maybe) than previous years. But, if we are going to make the most of the next two weeks, we’re going to get the best out of our children and young people, and we’re going to ensure that standards are maintained. It really does need everybody to be getting up and out every day, wearing that smile throughout the day and giving their best, whatever the circumstances within the school or college. Together we are significantly stronger. It is absolutely critical that we help others by doing our bit, we hold up our end, knowing that others will be doing their bit too. It’s only when we take that collective approach that we can be sure that that run into the break will be smooth, purposeful and enjoyable.

The festive holidays are just around the corner and for many, that is, those who don’t go to school or colleges, that will mean ‘wind-down’. In the next couple of weeks, we won’t necessarily be wound up, but we will ensure that we are operating at full throttle through to the close of play on the Friday before Christmas day.

‘While I relish our warm months, winter forms our character and brings out our best’. Tom Allen