T.S. Eliot wrote that “April is the cruellest month” only, in my view, he got it wrong. I think November is the most difficult. The change of clocks hastening darker evenings as well as the inertia between the space of half-term and the excitement of the Christmas holidays has always been energy sapping, except, I find to my surprise, at Oxford High.
The energy and passion of our pupils combined with the support and determination of our staff has meant that even the most tricky and difficult situations are met with resilience and agility. The last two weeks since half-term seemed a little lighter; we had only one reported Covid case for the first time and it felt like the community seemed to expel their tension like a long breath of air. However, sadly, Covid has returned to the school and the difficult decisions that had to be taken in like with Government guidance especially for Year 7 and their participation in ‘Beauty and the Beast’ which had to be curtailed was heartbreaking. All the more credit to them, and their staff, as Year 7s in school talked to me about how they were upset and yet they were so pleased they managed to perform to the Prep School students in the dress rehearsal. Credit, too, to our staff and leading performers who swiftly and ably tweaked the show, enabling it to continue. Despite the occasional snatches of song from the hall, the glimpse of students moving furniture at speed or trying and adjusting costumes, I had tried to keep myself away in order to enjoy the experience even more – and it was extraordinary.
The production was magical – full of joy, warmth and spark and a real reminder of all that this virtual world has taken away from us. We knew, intellectually, that the pandemic wasn’t over but in the middle of the performance that I saw on Wednesday, and I hope tonight too, that was all suspended and we were taken back to the essence of OHS – a place where students shine with confidence and courage. There are still hard days and decisions ahead of us but the joy of learning and challenge at the heart of our school remains and is a constant light ahead of us guiding us through the darkness. Thank you all for your messages of support and understanding to our staff; it has been appreciated.
Finally, if you haven’t yet, please do contribute to our questionnaire: click here. Please do take the time to complete it (10 minutes) and tell us what you think. It is anonymous but if you would like to discuss any part of your answers (good or bad) with us, there is an option to include your e-mail address if you would like us to get back to you.
With best wishes to you all,
Marina Gardiner Legge