A Staggering Start

The beginnings of an extraordinary year at Brockwood Park School

The start of this academic year at Brockwood was atypical due to the second wave of the pandemic beginning in Europe and other parts of the world. As a consequence, we had to stagger the staff and students’ arrival in three stages. Staff returned earlier than usual to ensure that the school would be Covid-19 free before the students’ early arrival. Twenty-six students coming from countries listed in the UK government quarantine list came two weeks early so they could self-isolate before the others returned. Once the whole school was assembled on 2nd September, we all went through a two-week period of ‘mobile quarantine’ wearing masks and maintaining social-distancing with the aim of becoming a bubble. Having done this, we are now living a ‘normal life’ and feel very safe here, though the sense of the world being in a deep crisis is in the air. As an education centre we can never forget the wider world, as inevitably that is where the students are headed as they proceed with their further education or other life plans. As educators, we take this very seriously and keep asking ourselves, are our students being prepared to face the innumerable and difficult challenges which lie ahead? Do they learn what is required? Is it possible to look at the world in crisis and understand it without becoming caught in its negativity or indifferent to its suffering? Education is an on-going process in which questioning is an important tool to help reflect, understand and open oneself to other possibilities.