"Back up and running smoothly"

One Church of England High School re-opened on 07 September after a tumultuous summer. Its Head says her school’s focus on positive relationships has helped them to respond to the pandemic with strength and resilience. 

Mrs Scott Herron, Headteacher of Sir Thomas Boteler Church of England High School, Warrington, says her school will be “back up and running” at the start of this month after a tumultuous summer.

“The things I’ve missed most are the conversations and interactions we have with them, not just about learning, but about life,” she says ahead of the school reopening on 07 September. “I’m looking forward to seeing everybody, we are a family and I’ve missed them. Simple as that.”

As the likelihood of a national lockdown was increasing, the emotion of that time was made even more acute when she received a phone call to say the school would be subject to a full OFSTED inspection.

“On the Monday before lockdown, I received a phone call from OFSTED. Even on the verge of a global pandemic the whole staff team wholeheartedly said ‘let’s go for it!’”.

The school set about preparing for the inspection, only to be told at the 11th hour that it wouldn’t go ahead after all.

“For me, as the Head of a Church School, that’s when faith comes in. One day I was instructing my staff to prepare for an OFSTED inspection, the next we were downing our tools and shutting the school.

“There was such a range of emotions, but we’re strong because of our relationships, we pull together all the time and that’s rooted in our Christian values.”

Mrs Scott-Herron took up the headship in 2014 and arrived at a school in Special Measures. Since then she has worked hard to raise standards and to change the school’s culture and ethos. She says her school’s biggest asset is their relationships, something which helped the school to respond to the pandemic with strength and resilience.

“We had to pull up our socks, as heart-breaking as it was, we were determined to do what was right by our students and worked incredibly hard.”

Within a few weeks of lockdown, Mrs Scott-Herron and her staff were providing an ambitious curriculum and full timetable to all students.

They provided laptops to families who were without, and teaching staff organised and personally delivered parcels of food to children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Some of the teaching staff delivering food parcels during the lockdown

Two weeks prior to the end of term, the Year 10’s were allowed back into school. At this time Mrs Scott-Herron also invited every child to come in for an interview to ensure she retained some face-to-face contact and to check in with them and their families.

Mrs Scott-Herron also made a point of personally texting individual staff members once a week.

“Most of the staff are parents themselves and are worried for their own families. We would contact them weekly, even if we didn’t have much to say, I just wanted them to know that I was here if they needed anything. Everyone has been frightened at times and managing all of that in the way we have is why we’re able to get things back up and running smoothly.”

The school will reopen its doors on Monday 07 September and Mrs Scott-Herron will be there at the gates to welcome her school family back home.

“Our biggest asset is our relationships, we’re a family. I can’t wait to see them. I’ve missed their personalities, their humour, and their smiles.”

Student Lewis Banfield on GCSE results day in August 2020
Page last updated: Monday 7th September 2020 10:18 AM
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