In Maidstone, it was a pleasure to see all the staff gather for a socially distanced team meeting. It was striking how pleased everyone was to see each other and there were many, many, smiles.
Of course, by coincidence, children had returned to schools earlier that week and the relief may have come from that regaining of normality as well, but I like to think that most of it was about returning to the office and meeting up with colleagues again. I am pretty sure that was the case.
Hopefully for our children and carers schools will stay open, but it is difficult to predict as some are sending whole year groups home if any child has a positive test.
Reading through reviews I have been remarkably impressed with how carers have educated children during lockdown. A recurring theme has been that carers have set work that enables the children to achieve and to catch up on topics and skills they have missed in earlier education. Some older birth children have tutored younger children in especially in Maths and I would like to thank them all, and many of our looked after children have caught up significantly in their education. Instead of sitting in a class where they have missed out on the foundation skills necessary for the class lesson they have been able to go back and learn those skills and many have made more progress than they would have in school. It is almost unbelievable that closing schools have enabled some of our children to catch up in their education and there must be a lesson about devising education to suit the child rather than having all children do the same, irrespective of whether they can achieve it or not.
Other carers, especially those with new children have reported how a bonus of the lockdown has resulted in an opportunity to really establish good bonding with the child before the pressures of social and educational peer groups have detracted from this.
Contact has also been less pressure and disruption for many of our young people.
Of course, for others it has been the reverse, they have missed out attending education, retreated further from mixing with their peers and been sad not to meet with their families.
All of these things are important, but it will be interesting to see if any lessons are learned by local authorities and society that the received one size fits all philosophy on education, social pressures and contact. What has emerged very clearly is that different children require different approaches and that some have benefitted immensely from an individually tailored approach provided by our carers.
As an organisation we believe that all of our workplaces represent a safe working environment, and they remain open, but as the number of infections in the community appears to build we will keep things under review and of course will follow government advice, but as we are now, we can always adopt a more cautious approach where we believe it is beneficial.
I have been going into the office on occasions, although it seemed strange at first I seem to have adjusted back to the new normal and it has been a pleasure to see some people that I have not seen since the start of lockdown.
We have as an organisation to help you all to do that as safely as we can, and as circumstances change both regionally and possibly nationally we will change and adapt and keep you all informed."
With love to you all and your families,
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