Welcome from Jo Duncan

The School Community – Together Again

I have always loved the start of the new school year with its sense of possibility and opportunity; it is wonderful to have the girls back on site and to hear the sounds of their voices in corridors, classrooms and boarding Houses.

Returning to School this September has been a very different experience for everyone due to Covid-19 and the extensive safety protocols that are in place. The loss of the familiar routines and patterns is always hard – and there are few places which have more regular rhythms than school.

I, and others, have spoken to the girls in Big School and Chapel, in tutor time, in lessons and in House since our return to School. They have been reminded of the need to adhere to the myriad of new rules including the five ‘keeps’:  keep distanced, keep clean, keep left, keep tidy, keep covered. We have emphasised the importance of thorough hand hygiene, maintaining distance and taking responsibility for our own actions. I have been impressed with their mature and sensible approach to the new situation in which we all find ourselves.

We are missing whole School gatherings, mixing freely and welcoming parents and visitors onsite but, despite the disruption, we can use this time consider what has been gained because of what we have been through in recent months. We have adapted: we have found new ways of working and communicating, girls have enjoyed engaging in deep learning through enrichment and extension courses, we have supported each other and the wider community. Although physically apart, the girls have continued to show their passion for a wide range of important issues including sustainability, diversity and adolescent mental health.

There is no denying, this is an extraordinary time and we now have a choice: we can look at it as a momentary period of adjustment until such times as we can return to the way things were or we can look at it as a key moment and an opportunity to rethink the old ways and do things even better than we did them before. My hope is that we will commit to the latter. In doing so, we will ensure that while the adversity, the exhaustion and the experience of being knocked off course has been painful, ultimately, it is an experience which can help us to see new possibilities.

Let us look forward with purpose and embrace all of the promise and potential of the new academic year.

I would be grateful if you could follow the link below to complete the ISC Coronavirus Parent Survey 2020 to help Wycombe Abbey and the wider independent school sector gain parents’ views on our responses to the Covid-19 lockdown last term.

ISC Coronavirus Parent Survey 2020