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The Show Goes On

When I reflect on this academic year my mind turns to dates. From 5th January when we were given less than 24 hours to stop the beginning of term and switch to online learning until the 8th March, a date we all clung onto like shipwreck survivors, when we were finally allowed to welcome our pupils back in to school. The next material date provided was 21st June when we were told that restrictions may ease and parents, absent from the school grounds for 1 year and 3 months (yes I am counting) might be able to come back on site. This was another huge milestone because parents with young children need to be a physical part of their child’s first educational adventure.

History will record that the 21st June did not happen, and the month’s delay announced by the Prime Minister coincided with the end of term and so, not for the first time, discouragement threatened to take a grip. But this is St Christopher’s and we were not ready to give up. We had populated the calendar with admittedly an unrealistically large number of family events, in the hope of enjoying some of the treasured annual opportunities with parents present.

Waiting and interpreting restrictions has become the daily role of the SMT. We try not to be distracted and disappointed by the news applied to audiences at Sports Venues and Weddings and try to focus on the narrow application of the rules and use them to give our young children the best possible opportunities.

And so it was that our summer productions lovingly put together featuring children who had not had a chance to star in a role that would showcase their blossoming talents, got up on that stage and took our breath away. We cleverly adapted Peter Pan the musical, and took the bold decision to do the same play twice with a different cast. This allowed every Year 2 child to be cast in a main part with solos, dancing and just incredible acting.

We couldn’t welcome everyone in as hoped but an audience we were determined to have and it was the parents from their final year who had to be prioritised. So with tears in our eyes on Thursday we opened the hall doors and welcomed in to the ‘theatre’ some very grateful and delighted parents. The children’s performances rose in front of this much loved (but socially distanced) audience and they performed, sang and danced in the stage lights with microphones at their absolute best and suddenly it felt as though normality had returned.

They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder. I can confirm that ‘appreciation’ by both staff and pupils has been an emotion that has been keenly developed for never before have we all been so grateful for every opportunity, previously taken for granted.  24th and 25th June have been engraved in to my heart as the date that, against the odds, the show went on.

Annie Thackray