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Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.  – Psalm 91:1-4


“What one has to do usually can be done” said Eleanor Roosevelt, and indeed we can and already have done it.

At the time of writing, we are advised that the pattern established this week will be the pattern for next. Schools will be open and parents who need to send their children to school can. Those who are able to keep their children home should continue to follow the Premier’s advice. All children at NBCS, whether at home or at school, will be learning according to our remote learning plan.

Last week, NBCS averaged an attendance rate of 84% compared to our usual rate of 94%. On Monday this week, attendance was 72%. On Tuesday it was 3%, on Wednesday and Thursday, 1%, and Friday 0.5%. Nonetheless, we remain committed to following government advice, and will be open for those who need to send their children to NBCS. Should this advice change, we will update our advice as soon as possible.

I’m not sure how many of you envisaged that you would ever become teachers. Thanks for joining us on your first week of work experience in the classroom, albeit via remote learning. We have been overwhelmed by your support and delighted by the way that our students have taken this shift in learning in their stride. It feels as though the rhythm of the school day is a helpful mechanism for making what is deeply peculiar and somewhat unsettling seem relatively normal.

Let me again express my appreciation to you, our parents, who have managed this so readily and are so supportive, to you, our students, who are displaying all the hallmarks of academic and personal maturity, and to you, the staff, teaching and non-teaching, who are facilitating real, relational and meaningful learning experiences. Is everything exactly how we want it? No. Will it be? No. What we do know is that learning is a shared endeavour, and one that parents don’t always get to see in all its splendour. My hope is that if not now, then in the coming weeks, parents might glimpse the purpose and professionalism of the staff of NBCS, and the joy of our students in their learning.

As I have stated before, we are working towards connection, continuity and community, seeing them as the hallmarks of our time together while apart. In a difficult time, we want to make the most of each of these hallmarks. This week I was reminded that students will remember this time long after they have forgotten what they learned during it, so be prepared to play the long game.

A frequent piece of advice that I give to myself as much as to others is this: big picture, even keel. If we keep the bigger picture in mind, if we can manage our emotions even when the going is tough, we will help our children to navigate events like this well and with a deeper sense of perspective. And for those of you who are worried about how well you are managing your children’s learning, remember another phrase of Eleanor Roosevelt’s, “The giving of love is education in itself.”

Tim Watson