It is great to be out and about, enjoying the sunshine at a country pub thronging with families enjoying a pint and a pie, complimenting each other’s dogs which barge and jostle about the tables. Thank goodness everyone can enjoy their lives and no-one is talking any more about needing to stop all travel and activity because of imminent climate extinction; we are not so interested now we have all learned what that feels like and what it does to the economy!
Unfortunately, things are not going quite so well when I look at the bottom line of the balance sheet of the independent school I run. Parents have been tremendously loyal through the period of lockdown but so many ran small businesses and consultancies and they have seen their businesses fold. We support them through bursaries, of course, but that has seen our revenue stream fall.
More worrying still, is the drop off in international boarding pupils which is ultimately caused by the new cold war between China and the Anglosphere. First trade wars between America and China, and then the realisation of the scale and reach of the CPC propaganda and cyber operatives from the way they propagated a counter-narrative to the fact that Coronavirus originated in a Chinese state laboratory, meant relationships are at an all-time low. We, of course, see beyond these state actors and pupils from China are welcome at the school. Unfortunately, the news they have access to tells them that the Western nations mishandled the crisis, that there is still much danger of a second outbreak here, and, falsely, that Sinophobia is rife in England.
Retrenchment from globalisation and international cooperation is thus affecting us directly, as well as damaging the job prospects and incomes of our parents who work in big corporations suffering from deglobalisation.
Still, the generational project to use technology much more effectively in the classroom, which was expected to take years to achieve, was turbocharged by the months of enforced remote learning. Now we are back in the classroom, we have not foregone the use of technology where it works well. No pupil’s essay ever gets printed or handed around: teachers mark with their stylus in the pupil’s online notebook, larding their written comments with audio files so the feedback is instant, enriched and insightful.