I am writing to you at the end of a school year which is unlike anything any of us have experienced before. We are not gathered together in the Leisure Centre listening and cheering, celebrating and laughing but instead we are remote and distanced, connected virtually, and that is very different to what we are used to.
I have written and talked often this year about our identity as the Wallingford School community. As I was thinking about this I went back to my dictionary and looked at the definition of community. There are many definitions and they are quite broad. A community can be “a group of individuals living in a particular place” – that seems quite cold and clinical to me. It can be in biology “a group of animals or plants that live or grow together” - this is obviously rather Darwinian but the notion of growing together appeals to me. The third is “a unified body of individuals with a common history or interests”.
I like this last definition and I think it is useful when we think about our school. A school is a unified body made up of many parts; my job is of course literally titled “the Head” but within our community we are different and diverse but we come together as a whole. We have a common history – moments of fun and enlightenment, moments of difficulty and occasionally sadness – but we share this and it makes us stronger. And our interests are a great many – we are literally comprehensive and include and embrace everything that our community enjoys, participates in and thrives at.
A community acts together and moves together. We are optimistic and look for the positive in everything. What is positive is that we will be back in September and that is something we tremendously look forward to. At the end of my first year in the Wallingford School community I would like to say thankyou to everyone – thankyou to our students for their commitment, resilience and vibrancy in such unusual times; thankyou to our staff for their dedication and hard work to support all of our young people; and thankyou to all of our parents and carers for their support, particularly during the past few months.
When we return after the summer holiday things will be a little different but we will be together as a community and that is something we will embrace and celebrate.