Hawkins and Dr Truss plan for September 2021

Thursday March 4, 2021

Following Concord’s recent Online Open Day featuring Dr Michael Truss – who will become Principal of the college from September 2021 – Dr Truss visited Concord last week. The visit was a welcome-opportunity to safely meet and get to know as many people as possible, as well as spending time with current Principal, Mr Neil Hawkins and the Senior Management Team to help plan for September and beyond. Said Dr Truss: “It has been such an unusual lead-in with the pandemic that I haven’t had the chance to visit as often as I would have liked to up to now. “However, with the excellent medical facilities and brilliant organisation of the nursing team, the rigorous COVID testing system in place at Concord has allowed me to visit safely and securely. “I am so grateful to them and to Mr Hawkins for arranging things so seamlessly for my visit.” In an action-packed three days, Dr Truss has met the SMT, Academic Department Heads, House Heads, Heads of Year, as well as boarding parents, pastoral teams and more – in addition to a virtual meeting with the Trustees. Principal, Mr Neil Hawkins said: “I was truly delighted that Dr Truss was able to spend a few days with us here at Concord. His intelligence, integrity and warmth were clearly evident as was his passion for Concord. “His reflections on his visit make it clear how much he is looking forward to his new role and the value that he places on all that Concord stands for.” With Mr Hawkins’ support, planning for September 2021 has involved vigorously planning for the return of the whole Concord community to the college, including academic arrangements and the rhythm of the normal calendar of events, such as extracurricular activities and qualifications. Dr Truss said: “We have been discussing how the college can emerge strongly from the experiences of the pandemic, and how to take forward the best bits of new practice that teaching through a lockdown has demanded.” Speaking of meeting the college staff, he added: “Everyone – without exception – has been a delight to meet and to talk to: I was able to get a very real sense of the friendly, purposeful, vibrant family that Concord is. “I am feeling extremely fortunate to be joining such a special community, and excited and optimistic about leading it into the future. “I will be visiting again soon, hopefully before the Easter break, and I look forward to meeting more staff and many more students to be further inspired. “I look forward to seeing Concord in the summer too; the Grounds staff have the campus looking stunning as always already, but I have not seen it yet in full swing with students able to take advantage of the wonderful and extensive grounds in summer weather. “Being in such a beautiful environment is a privilege and makes an enormous difference to the quality of the experience for all who work and study here.” Reflecting on his hopes for next academic year, Dr Truss said: “I’d like to see students learning in their classrooms and able to discuss and interact with their teachers without many of the additional constraints and worries imposed on them by the pandemic. “It is possible, of course, that some restrictions and constraints will remain for a little while longer, but I know that Concord is perfectly placed to deliver an outstanding level of care and education come what may. “I look forward to seeing and hearing the students’ wonderful ideas, and I hope those year groups who are doing external exams have more certainty about the opportunities they will have to demonstrate their amazing talents. “For those students who are completing their Concord journey and moving on to university: I am sorry that I haven’t had the chance to meet many of you, and of course, that you have needed to cope with such extraordinary uncertainty over the past 12 months. “However, by making a success of your time here through all of this, you have demonstrated beyond doubt the resilience, skills and outlook to go on to great things at university and beyond. “And as Concordians, you will be part of the Concord family forever – joining a vast and supportive Alumni Network: we want you to keep in touch and tell us about all the exciting things that you will be getting involved with.”