Christmas is coming!
As I write, I am looking out of my office window at the students enjoying the Mince Pie Relay on the Wargrave field. It is wonderful to see them having fun and showing team spirit but the best part is hearing their laughter at the end of a long autumn term.
Christmas is coming!
It has been a busy term, and despite the obvious challenges from COVID, the school community should be really proud of all that it has achieved. Staff and students alike have worked very hard to set the pace for this new academic year, determined to keep expectations high and achieve the very best outcomes for everyone. The pace has been fast and the commitment to learning has been relentless. You have all modelled our school values of courage and dedication superbly. It can be hard to maintain stability in school, when the COVID landscape is so unpredictable, but together we are stronger and we will continue to plan for the very best learning experience in school for everyone.
The Autumn term is traditionally the busiest for events in the school calendar. This year, events have included Virtual Welcome Evenings for prospective Year 7 and Year 12 students, Post-16 career interviews with friends of the school from the world of work and visiting drama companies educating our students about the dangers of peer-on-peer abuse.
There has been success in sport and music and we were able to, once again, enjoy offsite learning on activities day. Our students have supported us with tours around the school and their feedback has been very much valued when interviewing prospective staff. They remain our very best ambassadors and we are extremely proud of them.
In November, it was with a heavy heart that we decided to cancel the Christmas Fayre due to safety concerns. We know that all of the students, and the staff, really enjoy this event and it is usually a very strong fund raiser. With a newly formed PSA (Piggott School Association), this was particularly disappointing for the parents who had come on board this term to support us. Not to be beaten, we looked for alternative options and, on the 3rd December, the new PSA co-ordinated an ‘Outdoors and COVID friendly’ Christmas Fayre for Year 7. It was wonderful. It had to be seen to be believed but approximately 220 students designed, managed and enjoyed a variety of stalls in the netball courts raising money whilst having fun. There was a hot chocolate stand, a chance for Christmas selfies, lots of cake and even a chance to shoot a goal. It was a brilliant afternoon and we are so grateful to all of the parents and friends of the school who made it such a success. We are looking forward to the next project!
On Friday, at approximately 12.40pm, our school will close for the Christmas break. A well-deserved break for all. There will be mixed emotions from staff. The prospect of a pause from planning and marking will be welcomed but I know that they will miss and think of our students many times over the two-week period. The partnership and relationships built in a school are the foundation of why teaching is so special.
Our Christmas Service this year has been recorded and it is my pleasure to share it with you today. This year the theme focuses on peace and being ‘stronger together’. Periods of isolation have been difficult for us all and we must remind one another that we will find strength in each other when we need it. I hope that you enjoy it.
Finally, I would like to say thank you. We are so grateful to have such a supportive parent community. It has been a difficult time for us all, in many different ways. Each of our challenges are real and we must never be afraid to ask for help. As the holiday season begins, many of us will pause in gratitude for all that we have but there will be those who find this time difficult. Worry, stress, grief and loneliness can be significant hurdles in our lives and we must stay vigilant to those around us, showing kindness and compassion when it is needed. We may also carry COVID related anxiety. For this, I turn to Charlie Mackesy for guidance.
He says ‘When the big things feel out of control, focus on what you love right under your nose’. Surround yourself with those you love. Some might say that it is not about the journey or the destination in life but more about the company.
We wish you a wonderful and restful Christmas. We will look forward to seeing you in the new year.