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Gardners Lane and Oakwood Federation – Embracing kindness in our school during Covid

The Covid-19 life continues. It brings its many challenges. It keeps many apart. The response to the crisis has unravelled over the months and asks us all many questions and has demanded that  we reframe our priorities in our personal lives and in our professional lives.

The rules have evolved and we have adapted to these changes where we now comment on designer masks in Tesco’s, and when out walking, we navigate around people by stepping into the road. The provenance of isolation shouts loudly while the need to connect grows ever stronger.

The current Covid-19 position has in a number of ways shone a light on the embodiment of the Community Agreement across the district’s primary schools. The rallying of support by offering shared research, risk assessments and reassurance on the interpretation of the guidance avalanche has kept communication channels open. The underlying and unspoken sense of respect for each other, the gentle outreaching to check on each other and the notch of humour at our own expense provides a safe space to deal with the challenges.

The Community Agreement binds the signatories to work with all of our community and be aware of the trauma people may have experienced and behave towards them in a principled and kind way. The Community Agreement asks for actions. Words are not enough. Over the past months, from the 23rd March 2020, schools have put the words into actions. There has been a demonstration of care for the children and their families by ensuring free school meals were delivered and made available, foodbank produce was collected, distributed and welfare checks were made.  Protective bubbles were created, on-line learning produced and the sense of an inclusive school community stamped clearly on all interactions.

The sense of care and kindness is also illustrated in how the school’s leadership has protected and championed their staff. Sensitivity has been shown towards the stress and worry staff may  have regarding the rules that govern how they must work. Leaders know staff start each uncertain day looking for answers to questions the country does not have answers to. Leaders are asked to step into that void. The Community Agreement has provided the interconnections, spirit and philosophy  to absorb the pressures and maintain the sense of purpose for our children, families, staff and communities.

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