A Letter to Parents

Mark Turner

Dear Parents and Guardians,

I often find myself repeating the mantra “judge on outcomes.” This phrase was uppermost in my mind as I presented records of achievement to the members of the 2021 graduating class. As they crossed the stage, I was reminded of the many powerfully bonded relationships they have built, the extraordinary range of experiences enjoyed, the impressive array of university destinations secured and the remarkable leadership talent that has emerged. The individual biographies of our graduates make for impressive reading. What does a SMUS education provide? It is the collective sum of our 170 graduates’ individual journeys.

At the Grade 12 Graduation Ceremonies, I talked about the infinity connection between endings and beginnings. I quoted poet T.S. Eliot, who in the poem Little Gidding, part of the Four Quartet series, wrote:

“What we call the beginning is often the end
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from.”

The end of this year provides us with an opportunity to reflect and consider the path we have travelled. There have been many twists and turns along the way, we have been touched by tragedy and triumph; however there is a feeling that we have collectively been galvanized by our experiences and that many have thrived. We are most grateful that the three legs of the SMUS educational tripod – parents, school (that is our remarkable faculty and staff), and students – have proved resilient. We now have the opportunity to relax a little, take stock and anticipate new beginnings. Three deep breaths.

There is a real sense of rising optimism that we can look forward to the new academic year and a new beginning, the start of our Jubilee year, with a significant shift back toward the normal for which we all yearn. We will be making plans to open as fully and comprehensively as we are allowed. We will quite deliberately leave further detailed announcements toward the end of August, which will allow us to capture the most updated government orders and as much opportunity for progress as possible. In the meantime, if further updates are necessary, they will appear on our website.

Arrangements and protocols around the following will be updated and communicated before the start of our next school year:

  • Timetables
  • Competitive sports
  • Large gatherings (assemblies, chapels, concerts, ceremonies, etc.)
  • Mask wearing, physical distancing and hand sanitizing protocols

I know that our Admissions team will be constantly monitoring travel restrictions and quarantine requirements, to ensure that our returning and new boarding families are aware of the latest information.

For now, it remains for me to thank all of you for your flexibility in accommodating necessary change this year. Each year I say rather glibly, you deserve a well-earned rest. This year, I mean it more than ever.

To all those departing  – our graduates, their parents, those faculty and staff who are moving on – we say ‘au revoir and bon voyage,’ and hope you keep in touch. To those returning, I can assure you that our school ends the year in the best possible shape and is keen to get going again in September.

VIVAT!

Mark Turner
Head of School

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