(I’m not) Waiting for the Great Leap Backwards

13th April 2021

In July 2020, the P.M. told people working from home to “start to go back to work now if you can” a plea he has since had to change.

I am reflecting on this as I have been working from home since March 2020 after spending ten years as Senior Consultant for Alps “on the road”, often away from home three nights per week. In recent years, my work for Alps has taken me throughout England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, over to Jersey and as far afield as Dubai. In 2015, with an affectionate nod to the Flying Burrito Brothers, I wrote my blog “Six Weeks on The Road” about my typical working life for Alps and with The PiXL Club. Perhaps this one should have been entitled ‘Thirteen Months on The Couch’’?

I suspect that awful as the pandemic has been, it may have inadvertently brought changes for the good to many peoples’ working lives that are unlikely to be reversed too easily by political pontificating. There will always be a need for face-to-face meetings and training but the ‘new working normal’ is surely going to incorporate those gains.

I am going to highlight a couple of my recent “days off” at home by way of explanation.

On Wednesday 24th March, my morning was spent virtually at the Alps Monthly Educational Team meeting. In ‘normal’ times this would be held in Huddersfield. I live in Reading and the day before would in large part have involved travelling north and the rest of Wednesday travelling home. However, on 24th March I was virtually in Stevenage by 12.15 for a PiXL6 Associate meeting with senior colleagues from The Nobel School. By 2 pm I was a virtual attendee at The PiXL6 National Conference which in more ‘normal’ times would be held at The Oval in South London. By 4 pm I was virtually in Hounslow presenting to all their 11-18 schools on “Using the tools in Connect Interactive effectively when assessing students and awarding grades in 2021.”

On Wednesday 17th March I had a virtual PiXL6 Associate meeting with senior colleagues from The Mandeville School in Aylesbury followed by a virtual PiXL Associate meeting with the Deputy Head at The Gillotts School in Henley. Nothing remarkable there I hear you say, but by 3.30 pm I was presenting to all the schools and colleges in GwE, the School Effectiveness and Improvement Service for North Wales on “Using Alps Connect Interactive to support the Centre Determined Grades process in 2021”. Presenting in the GwE region has most typically taken me to Llanrwst almost 200 miles from home and requiring an overnight stay.

Am I being productive on my pandemic-enforced “days off” at home? Will I become more productive if, and when, permitted to resume my life back “on the road”? Will my ‘new normal’ involve ‘blended working’?

It “may have been Camelot for Jack and Jacqueline” but off the “Che Guevara highway” I’m not “Waiting for the Great Leap Backwards”.

John Philip

Alps Educational Consultant

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