A message from our Chair

As BSA Chair 2021 I would like to say Happy New Year to all our members and stakeholders. As well as BSA being the largest association of boarding schools, with more than 600 schools in 35 countries, BSA Group also represents more than 150 members of Sacpa, 85 members of BAISIS, nearly 50 Certified Guardians and Agents and over 550 BSA Accredited Practitioners (ABP). That’s a powerful collective under the BSA Group Mission to ‘champion boarding and safeguarding excellence’.

The events of the past year have been extraordinarily testing and I pay tribute to everyone for their resilience and hard work in supporting young people (and staff) and keeping them safe. It would be premature to say we have reached the beginning of the end of COVID-19. But to quote Winston Churchill, I think we can say we have reached the end of the beginning. The promise of the roll out of vaccines gives us hope in the year ahead that we will gradually see some sort of return to normality. However, as we have said before, the opportunity that it will bring is to find the new normal. We left pre- COVID-19 Model A and are working in the blend of remote and virtual environments through the midst of COVID-19 Model B. The challenge now is to understand how we harness the best of what we have learnt in Model B to enrich our old ways of working and create Model C.

Whatever challenges face us, the role of BSA, Sacpa and BAISIS is to support its members in whatever way possible. Whether that’s through influencing the government, giving advice, delivering training, hosting events, forums and webinars or offering ways for boarding staff, agents and guardians to be recognised for their quality, the Group’s three associations will always endeavour to be there, day or night, seven days a week. And in pledging that continuing support I would of course like to thank the BSA team for its relentless hard work too over the past year. Finding the right answers, at speed, for hundreds of members managing their own challenges is not always the easiest task, but we certainly have valued those updates that guide us all and answer the pressing questions.

While we all face another interesting (!) 12 months ahead, I would like to highlight three things on the immediate horizon – the BSA Boarding Conference for deputy heads, heads of boarding and boarding staff on February 2-3 (hosted by Gavin Horgan from Millfield), the BSA Annual Conference for Heads on May 4-5 which I will Chair and BSA’s new INDEX (Inclusion and Diversity Excellence) programme, supporting schools with their important work in this area. I hope as many delegates as possible can join these two important gatherings, and explore INDEX, and I hope in turn they are useful for our members.

Finally, huge thanks on behalf of the BSA Group Board and all our members to Mark Lauder from Strathallan School for his sterling and amazing work as BSA Chair 2020 during an extraordinary year – and best wishes to everyone supported by BSA Group for the year ahead. I know that BSA will provide the inspiration and tools for its stakeholders to make the most of the silver lining to this COVID-19 cloud and ensure we move strongly forward with Model C.

Rebecca Tear, Headmistress, Badminton School

BSA Chair 2021

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