I get a lot of e-mails every day; I don’t know how many because I stopped counting a long time ago. I also gave up trying to reduce my Inbox to zero at the end of every day because I felt like the main character in the ‘Myth of Sisyphus’ (Google it, you might feel that it’s actually you who deserves the starring role in that myth more than me).

Anyway, some e-mails are positive, inspiring and offer solutions to problems we face. And some, ahem, aren’t.

Some, however, don’t really rely on words for their impact.

I opened one message earlier this week and there was a photo of eight young people that told a story, not just of where they are in their lives just now but hints at where each of their individual stories might take them and how the main character in each of those stories- them- might develop.

Any of us who have ever been to school know there are subjects we liked; subjects we didn’t like and, for some of us, the traditional curriculum maybe didn’t really feel as if it suited us , either in parts or at all.  And that’s why at this school over recent years we have tried to widen the curriculum to give students even more opportunities to achieve success. And we can’t do that without working in partnership with other organisations.

Some of you might not know but Inverness Kartway is run by a charity and Social Enterprise called ‘Day 1’ which provides young people between the ages of 14 to 17, with a year long one-to-one befriending and mentoring service, the aim of which is not only to help them discover a positive direction in their lives, but also to move into the world of work.  The charity currently works with school pupils from S4 who are in need of some mentoring support and guidance. Young people are individually matched to a volunteer adult mentor from the local community. The experience for pupils is designed to provide a catalyst for positive change.

We’ve had a close working relationship with Day 1 and, just over a year ago, Corrin Henderson, the Chief Executive, and I had a conversation about how we could get kids more qualifications as well as that crucial mentoring. Through Corrin’s hard work, this August 16 of our young people have started off on Foundation Apprenticeships in Automotive & Engineering Skills. Part of the experience is driving the karts and of course, the track can be seen as a metaphor for life: things that are difficult to negotiate; tight corners; points at which you need to reverse before you can go forward again; a wee stall or a complete breakdown. And the course offers them an opportunity to not just fix their carts but fix their lives.

You’re probably going to love…actually you’re probably not going to love how I’m going to bring this back to reflect on how the week has gone back at school.

Crash Helmets.

What better face covering could there be than a crash helmet? So, while our young apprentices were circuiting the track at the Kartway the rest of us, pupils and staff, were getting used to the mandatory use of facecoverings. The pupils, as always, have been great: the vast majority of pupils come with masks and wear them appropriately. As the week has gone on we’ve had to hand a lot of spare masks out because they have been lost, the elastic has ‘pinged’ or they’ve got food on them (despite us assuring the kids that they can remove them to eat).

Anyway, face coverings are just another way in which we are trying to mitigate against the transmission of Covid and we’ll keep on that track: carefully negotiating every bend, opening up the throttle when it’s safe and braking when we see an obstacle ahead. And we’ll do that until the race is done.

Sisyphus, however, might go on for a little longer. Some say he was the inventor of Rock & Roll.

Have a good weekend.

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