LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND. Cllr Tom Logan, outside the Cunard Building on 19 May 2021. Picture: Jennifer Bruce/Liverpool City Council.

“What other profession would be expected to deliver despite the dramatic changes that schools have been through?”

Cabinet member for Education, Employment and Skills Cllr Tomas Logan has this week written to all staff in Liverpool’s schools, welcoming them back to the classroom and thanking them for their extraordinary efforts over the last 18 months.

To all teachers and school staff,

With the new term now well under way, I thought it would be a good time to write to teachers and school staff to welcome everyone back and explain the respect and admiration I have for the work that goes on in the schools across our city. This message is more relevant now than possibly ever before. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me if you wish.

Once you have taken a step back from working in schools, as I have, you really begin to appreciate the phenomenal role that teachers and school staff play in the lives of children. Every day you are role models, you are facilitators, you offer support and guidance, you inspire, you excite… And you do all of this differently from one hour to the next, from one child to the next.

Over that last 18 months the stresses and strains of everyday life for school staff have been grappled with amongst the most difficult of circumstances. Unprecedented times of grief, anxiety, and, in many cases, fear. All professionals working with children have their personality and inter-personal skills as key tools in their work, and you have delivered even in times when the use of these tools was greatly limited. What other profession would be expected to deliver despite the dramatic changes that schools have been through?

Teachers and school staff always deliver. Frontline staff of various professions have not received the recognition or the reward that they deserve for their reliability throughout the pandemic – and nor will they under the current government.

As we move forward, we should try to focus on the silver linings: the support networks that have grown, the innovative new strategies, the stronger community links. How can we build upon these and continue to remove the barriers to a truly inclusive environment?

We still don’t know exactly what this current term holds in store for us and for the children of our schools. Whatever may come of this term and this year, you must remember that every day you are helping children to build a foundation from which they will flourish throughout their lives. You are providing the environment that allows children to grow and develop. I don’t know of anything more honourable.

I will finish with a quote from Ira Shor which I think provides a context for the awesome work that teachers and school staff deliver every day. Writing in 1987, Shor described a group of students he was working with in the following way:

“They were happy and unhappy, optimistic and cynical, angry and resigned. They were many things all at once.”

Thank you,

Cllr Tomas Logan

Cabinet Member for Education, Employment and Skills

Liverpool Waterfront