The impact of Covid 19 has been significant. In a school where we promote routine, consistency, organisation, to name a few, as good autism practice we have had to find ways of delivering education in a way that our pupils can access without causing them distress in an already unsettling situation.
What we have learnt though is that we are already providing an education in a way that our pupils can access without causing them distress. Covid 19 is just an additional hurdle that we have to navigate.
Our ethos of creative ways of thinking, personalising learning and tailoring an education to each individual’s needs is no different whether it is virtual or in the classroom. Are there challenges? Yes of course! Challenges are a part of life. What has struck me is the way that staff have worked proactively to find ways for success.
The combined efforts of teamwork, good communication, supportive parents, supportive colleagues, clear leadership and technology has highlighted that the Peterhouse family can and always will endeavour to provide an outstanding education. There are moments when it has perhaps seemed so daunting we wonder what is next? Is it right? How can we do it better? In those moments there is someone somewhere who shares a success story, a funny anecdote, a new idea, and that is what outstanding looks like. A team who take a risk and are prepared to ‘give it a go’, pupils who know that they have support and can safely also ‘give it a go’ with the knowledge that if they leap they may be successful but someone is there to catch them if they fall.
Our pupils should be commended for their achievements. They are learning new skills daily. They are accessing online lessons. They are ‘turning up’, they are resilient in the face of a pandemic and they are showing us what they ‘can do’. We are a ‘can do’ school and they are proving it!
Our parents, who are our key stakeholders, are supporting their children and us to help make this a success and everyone is rising to the challenge. The resilience of our families, our staff and our young people is indicative of what we can all achieve by working in partnership.
So when I find myself teaching in 3 degrees, in the rain, under a rainbow umbrella, drawing Australian animals with a cold, wet dog at my knee I can’t help but wonder if anything at university, when I was so dedicated to learning about my teaching career, prepared me for this. The answer is, of course, no! This is so much more!
And so I reflect on the past year and think how proud I am of the whole Peterhouse family who continue to think creatively and find new ways (regardless of Covid-19) to help our children attend, engage, participate, learn, inspire, become resilient and have fun to enable them to be the successful and inspirational young people with autism that they already are!
Lesley Fleming, Autism Practice Lead