Headteacher says schools must ‘avoid any talk of a lost generation’ after coronavirus

Tom Maltby, the new headteacher of Holbrook Academy. Picture: ANTHONY CULLEN

Tom Maltby, the new headteacher of Holbrook Academy. Picture: ANTHONY CULLEN - Credit: Archant

Schools must “avoid any talk of a lost generation” and be optimistic about their students’ futures amid fears the Covid-19 crisis will harm their opportunities, Suffolk’s newest headteacher has said.

Students at Holbrook Academy getting their GCSE results in 2019. New headteacher Tom Maltby is keen

Students at Holbrook Academy getting their GCSE results in 2019. New headteacher Tom Maltby is keen to avoid talk of a 'lost generation' following the Covid-19 pandemic. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Tom Maltby, who is preparing to take over at the helm of Holbrook Academy in September, said that “our young people need us now more than ever” following the challenges of recent months.

MORE: Meet Suffolk’s newest headteacher – and find out why he’ll have a Buzz Lightyear toy in his office

The coronavirus crisis has forced schools to close to everyone except the children of some key workers.

Many children across the country have found home education and being away from their school friends challenging, not least those facing a ‘digital divide’ without access to the much-needed technology.

Holbrook Academy. Picture: JAKE FOXFORD

Holbrook Academy. Picture: JAKE FOXFORD - Credit: JAKE FOXFORD

Some fear such a long time away from school will harm students’ development and learning.

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With many firms forced to make redundancies after being hit by the economic effects of the crisis, there are also fears there will be fewer job opportunities for future generations.

MORE: Will there be a ‘lost generation’ of young people after coronavirus?

However Mr Maltby, previously headteacher of a large school in south-west London, said: “Our students need us to role model optimism and resilience.

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“Despite the challenges and the very real pain which many young people will have experienced recently we also must be hopeful about the future and avoid any talk of a lost generation.

“All educators need to work together, with a renewed focus, to deliver quality first teaching and support.”

Mr Maltby added that young people “need us to keep them safe and they need us to be mindful of the challenges that they have had to face over recent months”.

He is keen to establish new mental health ambassadors when he starts at Holbrook Academy “to ensure we work together to look after the wellbeing of this generation of young people”.

He added: “I intend to lead an outward looking school which is optimistic about the future lives of all our students and is ready to inspire and serve.”

Mr Maltby believes a “good headteacher doesn’t just lead a school, they lead a community”, adding: “I believe a school should be at the very heart of the local community and should strive to bring people together.”

He wants to “ensure that every student receives the personalised guidance and support they need to achieve their very best”.

Having previously worked as a deputy headteacher for inclusion, leading special educational needs provision, Mr Maltby said he is “motivated by removing all barriers to learning and ensuring that all students, regardless of ability or background, have the very best start to life”.

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