As I wrote last week, we are planning to start outdoor assemblies from Monday 17th May. The logistics are forming with multiple benches being positioned in the Hall and link corridor near to the quad and we are mapping out how tutor groups will be positioned in their groups and where the sun will be at 8.50am each morning. It is a significant organizational undertaking but we will get it right.

We haven’t had assemblies in the school for over a year and something intangible has been missed. We have done plenty of recordings and some live sessions but these have simply not been the same as a collective gathering focused on common themes and messages with the potential for reflection.

A great assembly is an affirmation of a school community and that is what we are going to regain. It makes us think, enlightens us, sparks our curiosity, makes us laugh, can be puzzling, can sometimes be emotional – crucially, it connects us and helps to define a community. We know that despite the progress we have all made with remote communication over the past year it is this sense of community which being together brings which has been missing. It has affected us all; from empty sports stadiums to closed theatres and cinemas, from limits on collective worship to so many group activities and clubs having to be delivered remotely. Outdoor assemblies are a small step to “normality” but one which we are really looking forward to.

Linked to our identity as a school community is the development of plans for the biodiversity area. We have had a huge number of students come forward who are keen to be involved; this is simply fantastic and we will ensure in time that they all can be. Planning continues, particularly around the initial groundworks, and we will keep everyone updated as progress is made with this exciting new aspect of our school.