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When we heard that we would not be able to return to school for the start of the Spring Term, along with a sense of inevitability given the situation with the pandemic, we all felt a degree of trepidation. Just how well would our community cope with a second round of Learning from Home, particularly during the dark and chilly winter months with opportunities to get out and about more limited than before?

It hasn’t by any means been easy, but once again pupils, parents and staff have pulled together to give of their best and the results have been clear for us all to see. This collective response has led to some truly impressive learning, teaching and community initiatives that have raised our spirits and helped us through. From celebratory dates such as Chinese New Year, the fun of World Book Day and the Egg Drop Challenge, to online activity clubs, we've learnt and kept company together. 

We were thrilled to welcome our youngest pupils back to school on the 22nd February and are hugely appreciative that the vast majority of us will be together again next week. At what is the end of the last week of Learning from Home for most of us, we have chosen some highlights illustrative of an incredible team effort.

Learning: More live lessons were added as we progressed through the term and many pupils produced spectacular work, illustrating their determination to keep on track in circumstances that, for many, were far from ideal. This resilience will surely stand them in good stead for the months and years ahead.

Our fantastic English department decided to celebrate World Book Day over an entire week, with competitions and quizzes adding to the excitement.

The Arts: You would have thought that without the usual collaborative classroom experience it might have been difficult to get the best from pupils, but lessons and challenges were so much fun that before long we began to receive wonderful work. This included composition and performance pieces from our musicians, fabulous art from the youngest to the oldest, and a glimpse at 1st and 2nd Forms’ film making skills which will come to fruition at next term’s Film Festival.

Sport – The FettesFit team was expanded and once again they held live fitness and PE sessions every day with the aim to maintain fitness, skills and have fun along the way. There were plenty of individual achievements including Simon, Angus and Archie’s support of Rory’s month-long marathon and Dashka’s continued cross country success. In February we ran the Class Fitness Challenge with pupils logging their walking, running, and cycling mileage. At the end of the month those taking part had travelled an impressive 5,266 kilometres.

Tutor Time: As before, tutor time was a focal point in the day, allowing pupils valuable time to socialise and catch up with each other’s news. We were able to talk through issues, share advice, play games, and celebrate successes.

Activities: Learning from Home activities were introduced after half term and have been extremely popular. Just two examples were Mr Leadbetter’s science exploits, which attracted many fans (who wouldn’t want to make edible marshmallow slime?) and Mr Greenwell’s Taskmaster sessions which involved much hilarity and proved to be the perfect choice for some online fun.

Helping others: In addition to the many everyday kindnesses that were shared, we had one incredible fundraising achievement. Rory wanted to run a marathon in January to support Child Bereavement UK’s ‘Jog on January’ initiative. Rory and his family benefitted from CBUK’s expertise when he sadly lost his daddy, and he was determined to give back what he could. The initial target of £100 was exceeded very quickly and the final sum raised was an astonishing £19,123.72.

Helping the Environment: Whilst we’ve been out and about for our daily exercise it’s been hard not to notice the explosion of litter around our roads and green spaces. Elizabeth and Maillie decided to take action in their local park and went back again and again to remove litter from around a pond to provide a better environment for all of the park’s wildlife.

A Celebration of Winter and Spring - In the middle of a rather gloomy February the snow arrived and with it some glorious blue-sky days. Everyone wrapped up and headed out to make snow sculptures, sledge downhill, throw snowballs or simply enjoy the peace and sparkle that had descended. For the last week of Learning from Home our thoughts turned to spring and we celebrated by wearing bright colours, planting bulbs, and making cakes and bonnets.