b'STRATEGYFUTURE PERFECTA strategic path towards the new normal is one that has to be walked by all schools. Everyones path should be paved with resolve and reimagination. Helen ODonoghue reportsAs school leaders, teachers and children race to thedead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies door at the start of the summer holidays, it maybehind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little be worth just pausing and reflecting on what anluggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready extraordinary time it has been for all of us involved into fight for it.education. We hear the term unprecedented so many times, but for me it encapsulated what has been theTime to change?most extraordinary of times in education. The status quo is around the corner, and it has a strong pull. It will take discipline, community, courage, strong If we pause and think back to March 2020, some 18arguments, and a healthy dose of optimism and wonder months has passed since schools were closed andto resist that pull. The schools I have been working the education sector faced an enormous challengewith are willing to resist this pull and reimagine a new to keep teaching and learning at the core of what itfuture and emerge from the portal stronger and more does. There were the challenges of remote learning,learning-focused than before. They are engaging in closed facilities, cancelled exams, social distancingprofessional learning, thinking about marketing and restrictions, testing and so the list goes on. But whatthe next steps towards school improvement, they have is extraordinary, and full credit and recognition tonot been paralysed by the pandemic and are, in fact, the inspiring educators who have continued to workoptimistic for the future and want to build on lessons tirelessly to encourage learners at this time, as theylearnt during this time.have kept community links with families open and supported as well as maintaining a focus on learning. During my conversations with schools, there is a resounding belief of what needs to be amplified in The resilience of the profession has been astounding,those schools. There is the opportunity to put Maslow but now as we pause for a much well-deserved summerbefore Bloom, and this is in no way intended to holiday, our minds must also think ahead. Remarkableundermine the need for high academic standards, but resilience has been shown, but if we do not build backthese two philosophies should work in this way: first, a better and use the lessons from this time to informschools community need for health, safety, wellbeing our future, to strive forward and not be paralysed by(Maslow) before tending to curriculum, pedagogy or the pandemic, it will be a lost opportunity to make aassessment (Bloom). greater impact.This marriage of wellbeing with high academic Opportunity knocks standards is one where schools are looking to create, It is, in essence, an opportunity to re-engage with therecognising this is key for sustainable admissions, staff nature of our school, our school culture, our schoolretention and the need to look at the whole picture of ethos and an opportunity to amplify what we haveteaching and learning within a school. Where children learnt from lockdown and discard those elementsand students have felt a sense of belonging during that are no longer working or that have a place in ourschool closure and there was strong communication schools. We need courageous leadership at the core asbetween home and school, learning was not stalled, we begin a new chapter across the UK. Over the last fewa triage approach was adopted by schools where months, I have been working with schools around theseinterventions were more insightful and targeted where questions: What now? What next for schools?. Hereit was needed most, allowing children and young follows some of my thinking. people to continue to flourish.Arundhati Roy shares: Historically, pandemics haveTime to growforced humans to break with the past and imagineParents who were worried about their children losing their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal,years of cognitive growth because of a disruption to a gateway between one world and the next. We canschool, were now able to see what their children were choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of ourlearning remotely; and were reassured as schools took prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks andup this challenge to continue to provide first-class 4 www.independentinsight.netIwww.iexcellence.co.ukIwww.i25awards.co.uk'