Congratulations girls, and parents, you have just about completed two of what must have been the hardest weeks of school and I expect you are ready for the Grand Staycation.
I was reflecting that I have now been leading Cumnor Girls School for 2 years. My contract began on 1st April and I often joked about the start being “All Fools’ Day”, but in 2018 it was also Easter Day and that put a very positive slant on the date for me. When I look back over the last two years the school has undergone huge change, we have invested huge amounts in the buildings and the IT, we have addressed the curriculum and changed the very culture of the school to one of family and community. The girls’ learning is better than ever, and their confidence and eloquence is outstanding. This has happened because we have all wanted the change and have worked hard to achieve it, my senior leadership team, staff, pupils and parents all with a shared vision, working together towards a shared vision and goal. I am immensely proud of what we have achieved, together.
We now approach the most significant time in the Christian calendar, Easter. A time of huge difficulty, blame and hardship leading to renewal, rebirth and forgiveness. We are currently going through a really tough time, learning to be in smaller spaces without our usual freedoms, having to be with people for much longer than we are used to, going through our own trials and difficulties. We are all a bit scared; we don’t know what will happen to our loved ones, we pray that they are all safe, we do not know about the future of our businesses our lifestyles. I am reminded of last year’s prizegiving speech from Fran Scott when she reminded us that the scary thing when we faced it was often not as scary as we thought, but the worry and anticipation is what made us feel so bad, and that is where we currently are – we don’t know what is going to happen and we are anxious. But, it will come to an end and we have to use this time as positively as we can, building on the positives and the little wins, looking on the bright side and looking towards the light at the end of the tunnel – and there is an end. And at that end there will be sunshine and smiles, and friends. We will be stronger and possibly more appreciative of all that we have.
You should never view your challenges as a disadvantage. Instead, it’s important for you to understand that your experience facing and overcoming adversity is actually one of your biggest advantages.