Pocklington School

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Headmaster's Blog: Relativity

Infographic of Einstein's Relativity of time theory

I am currently reading (and listening to) Bill Bryson’s “A Short History of Nearly Everything”. It’s a super book though punctuated by moments that cause my brain to wander. I suspect the fault here lies squarely with the reader but, as someone who never quite got his head around science at school, I hope I can be excused being lost when any mention is made of quarks, neutrons, carbon dating and the theory of relativity. That said, the book enabled me to get quite close to understanding the latter idea with the clearest explanation I’ve ever heard involving a moving train and someone standing on the platform as it goes by. As the old saying goes, you learn something new every day.

Of course, we’ve all learnt a huge amount this past year and a half – and much has been in the field of science. Our ability to analyse graphical data has increased exponentially. Indeed, we now understand what an exponential increase actually looks like. Equally, our knowledge and understanding of our humanity has also rocketed. We’re more understanding of each other’s different perspectives and how unifying (and divisive!) a shared experience can really be. And of course, we’ve learnt to value those things that many of us took for granted in years gone by. The cinema, carefree trips to the shops, chatting with colleagues during a working day, shaking hands or hugging and, of course, school.

This half-term at Pocklington School has, relative to previous Michaelmas half-terms, gone astonishingly quickly. I am finding it hard to fathom how it is only five days until the start of the half-term break. It could well be the ongoing challenges regarding COVID, the introduction of our new working week, the return of fully competitive sport to Pocklington or last week’s arrival of a seven-strong school inspection team. Whatever it is, it just goes to show that time, is indeed, relative. Relative to previous years, I cannot remember a faster moving half-term.

Change is something that happens relatively infrequently in many schools but, over the course of the past eighteen months, has become commonplace. Changes have affected how we hand in homework to how we meet and still there remain one or two things that still aren’t quite back to the way we’d like them to be. Our weekly visit to All Saints Church is with year groups only – we cannot wait to be all back in as a community. But, relative, to this time a year ago, things are a whole lot better. Now, was it M=EC² or…..