“It's not whether you get knocked down, it's whether you get back up”

Those iconic words were quoted by the great Green Bay Packers coach, Vince Lombardi, who in the 1960s led his team to three straight, and five in total, NFL Championships. When sitting down to write my reflections this was the first quote to come to mind. It is without doubt that we have all been knocked down by the pandemic we are currently living through, some far more so than others. However, I hope that like me, you keep getting back up again to fight on for better days, when we can all physically re-join the Warminster community.

Life away from the Foundry for me has thrown up many obstacles and like Forest Gump says “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get”. As many of you might know, I have a 5 year old son and 2 year old daughter and whilst my wife and I are both trying to work from home, teach our son reception year maths, literacy, reading and spelling and keeping our daughter entertained, life is definitely throwing a different chocolate at us each day and sometimes those nutty ones can hurt! 

A typical day in our household at the moment tends to start with 'PE with Joe' for Jemma and the kids, whilst I tidy up breakfast and check emails. If I'm not on an 8×8 meeting or lesson, Jemma tends to be on a conference call with one of her clients whilst the other starts to tackle the daily bribery/tempting of Joshua to do some phonics, addition/subtraction or 'Read, Write Inc' video rather than wind his sister up or kick his ball around the garden, inevitably breaking the plants that were coming on so well. If we're lucky, Isabelle will entertain herself by completing her Peppa Pig puzzle for the 2405th time during this lockdown whilst gleefully shouting “I did it!” after every completion. Meal times and our daily walk tend to be the only time we all come together and I never thought I'd say I enjoyed walking so much until the last few months. Joshua has learnt to ride his bike without stabilisers during this lockdown and Isabelle has become a master of speed on her balance bike. They've also both inspired me to purchase my first bike in 25 years!

All of this is a far cry from the daily routine in the Foundry. With eight of us based in the Foundry there is always friendly banter, bouncing ideas off each other and feeding on each others energy, not to mention copious amounts of refreshments. A round of drinks in the Foundry normally consists of the usual tea and coffee, but also some wonderful beverages that I often refer to as cocktails; peppermint tea, red bush, earl grey, red berry tea and Mrs Shanks' favourite … hot water! Whilst we still see each other regularly in 8×8 meetings, it is impossible to bounce off each other in the same way and feel that energy.

Every day I “get back up” and tackle the day ahead knowing that it won't be long before Professor Moriarty is sat at my feet hoping to steal my biscuit, watching groups of pupils walking past the window on the way to their next lesson, having endless visitors for one of us, or being able to step out and watch our wonderful teachers in action in their classrooms. I must also confess that I will not miss teaching reception class phonics, those teachers deserve a medal!

One final quote to finish with “End this year strong. The world needs you at your best” – Robin Sharma

Mark Sully​, Deputy Head Academic