Dear Parents Guardians
What can we say and do that is relevant and helpful in the unprecedented experience that we are living these days?

Two weeks ago, many of us attended an amazing evening at METNS on how we can nurture positive mental health in our children. Parents and teachers went home feeling stimulated and full of good ideas. How are we faring since?

In a time of crisis – as we are now experiencing – good ideas are put to the test as we strive to put them into practice. How are we, the adults, coping in a time of change, and let’s face it, fear and frustration?

As a leader of a very successful school community, as principal teacher, I am discombobulated. I love routine. I want us to be back to what we know – school hours, school achievements, school challenges. But life, the universe and Covid 19 compel us to re-examine ourselves and what we value.

On our website, under Ethos, we state:

Ethos is defined as the characteristic spirit of a community as demonstrated by its beliefs and aspirations. These are reflected in two elements in our school:

  • The taught ethos – an ethical programme, the ‘Learn Together Curriculum’, delivered by teachers in class
  • The lived ethos – the atmosphere, relationships, culture and attitudes. How we relate to each other and the values and attitudes experienced by our children.

We are in time when the lived ethos experience can help us focus on priorities: the atmosphere, relationships, culture and attitudes. How we relate to each other and the values and attitudes experienced by our children.

We are now striving to achieve our goals in separate pods – in our homes. It’s hard. It’s very ****** hard. Our education system is designed around the norms of classrooms where we, as a community, trust a small number of adults to deliver a curriculum that enables each child to reach their potential. Now, parents/guardians are being asked to work from home – and home school their children. Crazy!

Fortunately, children at DSPNS are familiar with calling on their creative selves. Now, parents/guardians are being asked to call on their resilience reserves. Not easy. Especially when parents/guardians are expected to work harder/longer hours – or facing no work, no pay and bills/rent/mortgages to pay. What can we do to to support one another?

Let’s prioritise: if you still have an income, be grateful. However, that does not help if you have one, two, three or four children in need of teaching. At home. And you, as parent(s) have to work. And your child(ren) may have additional needs. Harder again.

Learning Activities were emailed through Aladdin last week. The choices are endless. Yet home schooling is very different from ‘school schooling’. Responses from parents/guardians to date indicate some people are coping well, some are highly anxious; some think there is too much work; some think there is too little. Teachers at DSPNS are working together to create sustainable, manageable and differentiated plans. Allow time for adjusting plans for sending online rather than face-to-face classroom learning.

Thanks to all who emailed or phoned in queries. The whole staff of DSPNS are committed to supporting our school community. These are unprecedented circumstances.The whole school community needs to give ourselves time to adjust. We will be posting updates regularly. We are here to support and help our school community.