2 May 2020 ABINGDON PREP NEWS What are the positives that have come from the coronavirus outbreak? The recognition of the tremendous work that key workers do for society, particularly the NHS and care workers. Their selfless attitude has been a lesson for us all. I think many of us have taken the opportunity to reflect on how we were living our lives before the virus outbreak and to appreciate friends and family. I have certainly realised that I took things for granted. I have also enjoyed watching nature recover. Less traffic and pollution are definite positives. What have we learnt from the negatives? To value the important things in life. Not having the freedom to visit friends and families has made us realise how lucky we are to have them. Moving forward, I think our attitude has changed to material things; the desire to have the next gadget, the car that we drive, I think we have got a better perspective now. Is there anything the School would have done differently in the approach to closure? In an ideal world, we would have had a practice week with everyone working at home so that staff and boys could have got used to the processes. Although we had been making plans for the school closure for many weeks, it was still a steep learning curve. Our current offering of Google Classroom and Zoom seems to be working well for most of the boys. How will school life change when we return? Everyone, boys and staff, will have a lot better IT skills! The boys will be more capable of independent learning. I think everyone will be a bit more appreciative of school life, the friendships, camaraderie, spending time together. We have all realised what a special place this is. What effect has it had on the boys’ education? There will have been positive effects on the boys’ learning. Their resilience has improved as has their ability to look for solutions. They think more creatively and try to solve problems themselves rather than immediately resorting to a teacher. This will help their learning enormously as they move up the school. We have been able to teach the planned academic curriculum but we haven’t been able to offer the breadth of the Other Half that we are used to, but this has also had positive outcomes. The art that boys have been working on has been impressive because they have had no limit to the time that they can spend. CDT projects have been superb and the drama videos show boys, and their families, enjoying the Other Half together. What are you most proud of in the way the School reacted? The sense of community, coming together and the help from volunteers for running the school for the children of key workers. It has been humbling. What would you say to our 2020 leavers? It is such a shame that we cannot fully celebrate their achievements publicly at the end of term. I hope we will find some way to do this at a later date. But I would like to reassure them that they are very well prepared for the move to senior school. Perhaps, more so because of the lockdown, as they have had to learn to work independently which will stand them in good stead for moving on. It would be good to say a proper goodbye if we can. Have you learnt any new skills? Video conferencing! To be honest I have not had a lot of time. School has been very busy and combined with looking after our son, Quinn, I, regrettably, have not been able to start any new projects. What have you learnt about yourself, your family? Lockdown hasn’t changed how we live very much at all. With a young son we don’t go out very often and we like being at home. I have certainly learnt to appreciate what Hannah, my wife, has to do. A two-year old’s tantrums are something to behold! Will you change anything about how you live your life? I will try to be more proactive about keeping in touch with friends and family. Can you recommend any good reads/ podcasts/films/TV? We have revisited and thoroughly enjoyed the TV series, Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes . It’s not for children though. My reading is strictly limited to Quinn’s choices, current favourites are Monkey Puzzle, The Gruffalo and The Crocodile under the Bed ! What have you most missed? It will be no surprise to anyone who knows me, but it has to be cricket. (Apologies to family and friends!) What are you most looking forward to? Ditto! Taking time to Reflect The Headmaster, Craig Williams, takes time to reflect on the school closure and what we have learnt from life in lockdown. Michael Windsor, Headmaster of Abingdon School, gives his reflections on the coronavirus outbreak in Abingdon News.