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Number One The past four months have reminded us of our need for human contact.

There is a reason why we are not hermits. In April, we translated our Oundle into Oundle Online,

as fully as we possibly could, but our Oundle is more than anything about people: about conversations in passing,

about unspoken communication, about braving the elements or breathing in the sunshine as you move about the School and town with your friends, about enjoying each other’s company.

We have all missed people. Number Two Pressure experienced as challenge often brings out the best in people.

You will all be able to draw on examples from your own experience, but from my perspective I have never been so impressed by the ability of pupils and staff to adapt.

Across the pupil and staff body, different people have had different experiences of lockdown, a

nd the resilience of many has been simply extraordinary.

In all sorts of important ways, Oundle School as a whole has flourished and the qualities of resourcefulness, optimism and kindness we associate with Oundelians have shone through.

Number Three Pressure experienced as anxiety and unaccustomed powerlessness can often bring out the worst in people.

We know that. But when it is an entire community – an entire country – affected, the fragility of human behaviour under strain is writ large.

Remote communication is by its nature unsatisfactory: the intention of the message sent is not always the inference drawn from the message received;

venting spleen and frustration into the apparent void results in things being written that would never be said face-to-face.

As we emerge blinking into the sunlight, some relationships will need to be repaired.

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