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Bulletin - 05-06-23

“He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for His name’s sake.” – Psalm 23:2-3 NIV

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

I hope you’ve had a lovely half term and that you managed to get a break from the busyness of school life. It is important to take time to stop, to relax and to rest your mind from the complexities of work schedules.

I think we are all aware that rest is vital for better mental health, increased concentration and memory, a healthier immune system, reduced stress, improved mood and even a better metabolism.

However, how easy is it to switch off? In my experience, it is easier if we create distractions or engage in a hobby – may that be cycling, walking, watching a movie and spending time with family or friends.

During half term, I had a short break with my wife in Somerset. We took our bikes with us and on one day we cycled along the Bath to Bristol cycle path. If you have ever done this, you will know that it is a lovely traffic-free route through the countryside. Our path bridged over a busy motorway with drivers only focussed on the road in front, obviously travelling too fast to enjoy the world around them.

Whereas we were moving at a leisurely pace as directed by the signs which said ‘Go slow, enjoy the view’. In fact, we did more than go slow, we stopped after a few miles. It was unlike us to stop because we set a time we wanted to arrive in Bristol. Tempted by tea and cakes being served in a sunny garden at a café along the way, we stopped.

There we rested, we enjoyed the view of the countryside and had a few minutes to catch our breath. It was then that the quote from the very famous movie, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986), which I loved when I was a teenager, came into my head.

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” – Ferris Bueller (1986)

If you know the movie, you will know of course that as Director of Education, I do not agree with or advocate the main premise of the movie today.

It is about a teenage boy going to extraordinary lengths to skive off school in order to have fun with his friends. As educators, we must of course do everything we can improve school attendance. However, the quotation above has stuck in my head for many years and I think it serves as a useful reminder for us all to take a break once in a while to enjoy the view.

I realise this is sometimes difficult to do in school. This term will be another busy term with report writing, sports days, school trips and leavers’ services but we must find time to stop and take a break. It is true that we all need to work hard but we need time to stop, rest and appreciate all the good things in the world.

In the Bible, God sets the example of resting and taking time to appreciate the work we’ve done and the world around us.

“God saw all that He had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning — the sixth day.” – Genesis 1:31

By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. Genesis 2:2-3

Seeing God’s creation can invite us into a deeper admiration for God and His handiwork. In nature, surrounded by His creation, we may feel closer to Him. The beauty of creation is a reminder of God. When we respect any part of God’s creation, be it nature or another human being, we are seeing value in what God created and admiring the creator.

God created rest for our benefit, to restore us. It is important to find time from our busy schedule to be still, silent, present and prayerful.

If ever you find life is too hectic and you feel there is simply no time to stop and take a break, then please don’t hesitate to reach out for support. There is a lot of professional generosity in our schools and of course the DBE team are always here for you.

I wish you a very successful term and remember to take time to enjoy the company of people around you and the wonderful experiences in school.

Best wishes

Paul Thompson, Diocesan Director of Education

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