Firstly, I am not writing this to receive lots of sympathy and lovely comments like ‘it’s not headteachers’ fault’ etc. I just want one person with the power to actually make decisions to think about it for one second. Now I know the second part is very unlikely but I’ve always been a trier!
I knew, we all knew, that education staff were putting their time with their family at risk by staying in school up until the 18th and we all tried to mitigate those risks as best we can, We all saw that local councils knew too and tried to do something about it only to be threatened with legal action.
We’ve seen this morning that the data had already been telling the government (struggling to say our government) the same message too but doubling down on poor decisions has been their way throughout this atrocious time. This was no different. They wanted to show how much more powerful they were than a Labour run local council and they did.
The question I am now struggling with, following positive test results amongst staff that will stop them seeing their families, is why wasn’t I brave enough to do what I knew was right? I am normally up for the fight but I didn’t have it in me. I sit here writing this feeling that I let the community down by not being strong enough.
I know that hindsight does this. I know that I’ve been involved in decisions that were rationally right at the time but proved to be wrong and needed to be changed later. We made those changes, apologised for getting it wrong in the first place and vowed to do better.
Humility, integrity and honesty have been at the core of school leadership since September and whilst none of us have got it 100% right we have managed to keep (almost) all colleagues and families with us. They’ve understood, offered opinions and worked together to find better solutions.
But this stings.
I’m gutted. I’m gutted that members of staff have put the care for other people’s families first and now can’t see their own. I feel responsible, whether that is accurate or not, it’s how I feel and I know it’s how so many of my comrades feel. It may be a politician behind a podium delivering the news but it is us looking people in the eye that look to US not THEM for leadership.
The government has repeatedly said it is not time to score political points to the opposition but seem happy to play politics with our well being. So Mr Williamson it is time to say you got it wrong. It is time to show humility, integrity and honesty back to those that have lived to those values for months and months.
It won’t make me feel any better. It won’t make me feel like I’ve let the staff down. It will make me think that you understand which would help