Four weeks into the summer term, many of us have bedded in to our remote school routine. I am fortunate that in many ways my ‘new normal’ is not so very distant from my previous normal.

I have been able to be part of Music rehearsals and concerts, the audience for Burke Debates, discussions in Academic and Drama Scholars, and physical sessions in fitness testing and home training circuit development with Sports Scholars. In some ways it is easier for me, as I have on occasion been able to be in two places at once, or been able to watch sessions back after they have been recorded. Microsoft Teams is a bit like the time-turner that Hermione Granger has in the Prisoner of Azkaban – very handy for busy folk!

Of course we miss the noise, chaos and energy that comes from having a school full of teachers and students, but to see so many of the community getting involved in online activities has made me very proud. The ‘Miles for MS’ challenge has started very positively, with over 49 staff and students completing more than 1700 km and raising over £1600: the first success of the Taunton School Strava Club. The Community Choir has received over 50 individual videos to create a montage of “You are Not Alone.” The last month has seen the strength of the Taunton School Community shine through.

I wonder whether some of our new normal routines will stick in the future? Family board games and baking, the effort made to have telephone conversations or online video calls with family and friends, cherishing the allowance of daily exercise to explore the green spaces around our homes, the joys of reading and developing new skills – why not just carry on with these post- lockdown?

I have absolutely recognised that, now more than ever, I have a new appreciation for the beautiful area in which I live, having explored areas of Taunton on walks or cycling excursions, tried new recipes and enjoyed cooking, as well as finding time to read for enjoyment; all things I may not have done if this crisis had not happened. Whilst I miss people, I have been able to use this time to think about the things that are really important to me in my life and to explore new things that I did not challenge myself to do in the past.

There is still time to explore pastures new, use this time to see how innovative and creative you can be.

Hayley Mortimer, Director of Co-Curricular