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Update from the Principal

Posted: November 11, 2022

Earlier this week I had the joyful responsibility of announcing via the College PA system that in light of new government guidance the plastic screen dividers, which have been in place in all our classrooms and eating spaces for over two years, could finally come down. The roar of cheers that greeted this announcement in rooms across the College campus was quite something, and as I stood at the gate that afternoon to farewell students as they departed there was such a palpable sense of relief, happiness, and excitement!

I do not know how obvious it will be to people who do not work or learn in schools as to why this would be such an important thing. The screen dividers are far from being the most difficult element of the impact of the pandemic on life at the College over these last few years, but there is something about members of a learning community being separated from each other by a barrier that is particularly poignant. Their removal gives much more scope for formulating our learning spaces in better, more student-centred ways. It will also help students, particularly those with the highest levels of need, who have found them to affect communication and interaction. But in addition to these practical considerations, it is a symbolic moment for us to relish. We are no longer divided as we once were.

This is not the first post-Covid relaxation, and it will not be the last; as each one occurs, we retrieve something important about ourselves and enjoy a re-balancing from a previous moment of difficulty. We have come a very, very long way together these last few years. 

As I sign off this message, I’d like to wish our Secondary students all the best for the exciting programmes that lie in wait for them next week. No Boundaries is a chance to experience things beyond the four walls of a classroom, to engage with the community and our context, and to foster relationships and develop skills in a way that is distinctive to this vital part of the DC curriculum. We also wish our Year 13s well as they work on important elements of their academic programme. All this could not be possible without our incredible staff and I’d like to express my thanks in anticipation to our trip leaders, the Group 4 project and Extended Essay teams, and the support staff who have worked tirelessly on No Boundaries, for all their hard work. I am especially grateful also to Mr Ryan, very ably supported by Ms Clohesy and Mr Tate, for the leadership that is so key to it all.

Here’s to a great week ahead and indeed to a great rest of term.

James Smith