The start of a new school year is always an exciting time but this year it is even more highly anticipated after months when most pupils and staff have been working remotely. A busy summer of preparations mean that St John’s is now ready to welcome pupils and staff back to site – safely – to begin a school year that might look slightly different from normal but which will still encompass the richness of St John’s school life.

Extensive planning and preparations have been undertaken during the summer to ensure that the site has been adapted to accommodate our pupils and staff safely, while allowing as many normal elements of school life to take place as possible.

At a practical level, classrooms have been adapted for social distancing and we have designated areas to enable pupils to remain within their year group ‘bubbles’ for lessons, break times and lunches. Additional handwashing facilities and toilets have been introduced around the site, cleaning will be increased in frequency and focus and lunches will be served across multiple areas.

Although our pupils cannot mix across year groups within their houses for the time being, we are committed to maintaining the pastoral care that is fundamental to life at St John’s. Pupils will see their tutors within year groups and the support structure of tutors and Housemasters and Housemistresses will be as robust as ever.

Until competitive sporting fixtures can be resumed, we will be enjoying internal fixtures on Saturdays. Our co-curricular programme has been adapted to operate within year groups and on rotation, and our Performing Arts Department will be finding creative ways to keep performance varied and vibrant.

While it will be under slightly different circumstances, the emphasis at St John’s is looking after the safety of every pupil and staff member, while also delivering the exceptional educational experience that is at the heart of what we do. We look forward to the new school year and all the opportunities that it will bring.