Pupils from across all year groups have collaborated on a new project aimed at giving them a voice to address topics, ideas and issues that they feel passionate about. Designed and written by pupils, Voice is a brand new e-magazine and the release of the first edition marks the culmination of an extra-curricular remote learning project, set by English teacher Simon Markham.

Further editions are planned for release every half term with different themes. The theme of the first edition is ‘a positive spin on Coronavirus’.

We hope this magazine provides some time to reflect and take a moment to appreciate all that has been gained and not what has been lost.

With a variety of pieces from the economic effects of the virus to poems highlighting the long-lasting positive effects the virus will have on society, there is a huge variety of pieces within the magazine, all stemming from each writer’s individual interests.

Editor Savannah explains the idea behind the theme for the first edition in her opening message to the readers. “We wanted to try and highlight the positives in such a time of negativity. We hope readers and their loved ones are all safe and healthy in the current circumstances and that this edition of the magazine provides some time to reflect and take a moment to appreciate all that has been gained and not what has been lost.”

WHAT WILL YOU REMEMBER?

Virions swim and spread through the air, taking refuge in a person’s body
Humans pull those they love close, hosting them in their hearts
The chaos that’s swarming around them, like bee’s round a hive
Provoking the putting up of borders, and walls, splitting parts

Separated from things that they know, their friends, their families, the lives that they live,
Humans can use the time to reflect from within.
They can dance. They can dream. They can listen more deeply,
Knowing the virus will soon get sleepy

The Earth had given them time to pause and think, to stop before they all reached the brink.
To rid the small annoyances that push on their mind day to day
To question their faith, their morals, what they believe
And to call that person, ring them and say ‘I love you’ and wish they said it more every day.

They have time to stop and observe the crumbling society
Where money put kindness at the back of their minds,
Where numbers one to nine ran across their eyes like flashing signs,
And the value of life was measured in gold coins

We can breathe, and be grateful, for each breath, that we take,
As we realise that health is the best gift – one that money can’t make.
As the pollution is drained from the sky and the sea
We must not forget, at the end what did this time teach me?

 

Chloe

PEOPLE SAY THE BLITZ WAS THIS COUNTRY AT ITS FINEST. WHAT WILL THEY SAY ABOUT US?

The golden generation. The phrase used to epitomise the achievements of Britons between 1939 and 1945. For those who fought and for those who just carried on. Over time, as it became more common to sing the praises of the old, it became just as fashionable to criticise the young. Before the pandemic, one didn’t have to look far to find countless headlines decrying ‘lazy’ millennials. Yet now we find the ‘snowflake generation’ in a fight of their own. After living through a virus which at the time of writing has killed 280,000 people globally, will people change their perceptions of the young and millennials?

In order to establish how time will change the perception of our generation, we should look at how it has altered our perception of those who came before us. To put it simply, the Blitz has undergone large amounts of revisionism. Under the blackout, crime rose by 57% and there were 4,584 recorded lootings. It was standard practice for thieves to pose as ARP (Air Raid Precautions) and to smash their way into shops, sometimes even using vehicles disguised as ambulances for getaways. Con artists thrived too during the Blitz. People were entitled to at least £500 if their homes were destroyed. Walter Handy claimed to have lost his home 19 times in a five-month period. But perhaps he was simply a property tycoon.

In comparison, as Priti Patel reminded us all in her second government briefing, “car crime, burglary and shoplifting” are lower than the equivalent period last year. The fact that most people are at home (making burglary difficult) and most shops are closed (presumably shop lifters have also been furloughed) clearly escaped the notice of the Home Secretary.

However, there are flaws in using crime rates to judge the Blitz too. A 57% increase does not reflect a state of lawlessness, instead opportunistic criminals taking advantage of an overstretched police force who were often hampered by wartime just as much as citizens. It was not uncommon for police to be short of petrol too. Often prosecutions were made for incredibly minor offences. A rescue team was digging for bodies in a pub and one of the members found some brandy and shared it around. He received a six-month sentence. Despite it being overturned on appeal it reflects how wide a legal definition ‘looting’ had at the time.

 

Perhaps it’s time for an end to generational labels altogether. Instead we should recognise that no generation is outright greater than another.

 

A far better way of measuring the conduct of today’s generation in the face of the lockdown is looking at the number of fines that police have handed out. It was reported on April 30 that 9000 fines have been handed out across the country, with 397 ‘covidiots’ being fined more than once. Today’s generation even has their own Walter Handy, with one man being given six fines within a month for breaching the lockdown. Of course, the number breaking the lockdown is likely to be higher, especially in areas with reduced police presence. There have been 200,000 calls to the police related to the Coronavirus though it is impossible to ascertain how many of these are genuine or just over-enthusiastic neighbours. What it does show however, is a striking similarity with the golden generation.

Throughout the Blitz criminals were detested with renewed vigour. In November 1940, the Daily Mirror ran with an article titled “Hang a looter” calling for “the lowest creatures thrown up by the war” to be hanged or imprisoned for life, so that it could be heard that “some of them are dead”. Fortunately, the political climate has not yet reached the point where we are proposing the hanging of ‘covidiots’. Though admittedly the National Rural Crime Network has been receiving supports of “small-scale vigilantism”, it is currently just “communities blocking off roads” and people “driving aggressively at cyclists”, not quite capital punishment.

The 200,000 calls to the police show that just as criminals during the Blitz were hated, people are just as determined to stop the minority breaking the lockdown from doing so. This shows a clear similarity between the two generations. One of the majority lashing out at the minority for working against the good of the nation.

The language used to describe our response to the pandemic has had clear military undertones. The idea of fighting, battling, winning a war, an enemy, all reflect similarities with a wartime attitude. Whilst one generation faced war, another faces a pandemic. Yet both these generations responded. Both carried on with their lives. Both did what they could for the country, whether it was rationing and obeying the rules or simply staying at home and following the advice. Both decried those who undermined what they were trying to achieve. Perhaps it’s time to put an end to the label of the ‘snowflake generation’. Perhaps it’s time for an end to generational labels altogether. Instead we should recognise that no generation is outright greater than another. Instead we should recognise that there are people who do both the remarkable and the despicable in any generation and that every generation faces different circumstances and it is those circumstances which truly decide whether a generation is ‘golden’ or ‘snowflakes’.

Henry

RESET

And for first time in our lives we are forced to pause,
To admire,
To look further,
To notice.

To notice the beauty of the reflection of the sun on tranquil buildings,
To notice the silence in a city once drowning in noise,
To notice the stillness in a world that moves so fast.

We are forced to reflect,
To process,
To ponder,
To listen.

To listen to the demons within us that are waiting to be fought,
To listen to the people around us whose cries for help have gone unheard for too long,
To listen to our dreams that are waiting to be fulfilled.

We are forced to open our eyes,
To grasp,
To realise,
To wake up.

To wake up to what’s really important,
To wake up to the issues plaguing our world that can’t wait any longer to be solved,
To wake up to the injustice, the inequality, to the ignorance that our society shows towards the issues that deserve to be heard, to be understood, to be resolved.

Because stars don’t shine without darkness,
Rainbows don’t come without rain,
strength only comes from being broken.

This is not forever.
The clouds of heartbreak and sorrow that the virus has cast over our world,
Will soon pass.

Leaving the most beautiful rainbow of true appreciation,
True gratitude,
True value,
For the world that we had forgotten how to truly celebrate in, Truly love in,
Truly laugh in,
Truly live in.

 

Savannah

OBSERVATIONS OF A CHANGING WORLD

Despite the struggle that we are all enduring whilst facing this pandemic, it is possible to celebrate the strength that we have all mustered in fighting this battle. This strength has been displayed through the countless innovative ways used to combat the difficulties of life at the moment. In a way I think that it has personally grounded and humbled my attitude in our rapidly developing modern world. Time seems to have accelerated since the automation of transport, the internet and globalisation. As the time it takes to fly to New York diminishes, we are all reminded of the insignificance of distance in relationship to time. Our idea of time has become warped by the quickening happenings of our world.

It has been noticed how people nowadays have a smaller capability to step back and withdraw themselves from our dubbed ‘shrinking world’ and its busy engagements. Quarantine has provided a pause button where most people have been able to invest time in doing things that they had not had the time to do before. Whether it is the boredom or the excess time people have whilst remaining at home it is certainly driving a surge in creativity. People are appreciating the art of home cooking, crafts, media, nature and literature even more than usual. Companies are also enhancing their creativity by diversifying business to fit this strange time.

Feeling physically bound by quarantine? It is ironic that distance restricts us more than ever before. Prior to the outbreak we were limitless in our ability to travel distances around out world.

Instead of this high speed lifestyle this pandemic has certainly challenged us to see the importance of the simpler things in life. This idea is embodied in many different forms: for some this may be looking out of the window to admire nature, lengthening a family dinner, perhaps exploring untouched bookshelves or the cultural archives provided by Netflix. I think we have slightly lost touch with prioritising these things as we strive to be as productive and efficient as possible and push away unworthy efforts of our precious time. Now that these things have had their value returned to them, we are maybe one step closer to enjoying the freedom in valuing things not just for the profitable gain they return but also for the enjoyment fulfilled in that moment. We are learning to enjoy the immediacies of life and the present, without agonising about the activity’s consumption of time or its function. Sometimes something meaningless doesn’t mean it is worthless.

 

Creativity is empowering us and although we are facing a challenge, it is typical human nature to unite in combatting it.

People fighting the boredom that comes with being contained in their houses are coming up with unique ways of entertaining themselves. To name a few, I have seen garlic being grown, the construction of miniature doll houses, concerts performed in back gardens and the recreation of cinemas at home. I think this circumstance has plucked us out of auto drive and challenged us to all generate new ideas, using parts of our brain that we would not do in our daily routines where mundanity blinds our creative sight. This is also reminding people of their capabilities, highlighting the feelings of satisfaction, pride and achievement. Take for example people rising to the less serious challenges; take the 2.6 challenge, the 5k challenge, or even baking a banana cake is a challenge for some. Creativity is empowering us and although we are facing a challenge, it is typical human nature to unite in combatting it.

Companies are also endorsing this creative flair by developing products that are more fitting to the times. For example some gin distilleries are making hand sanitiser, some companies are shifting to online platforms and Burberry is producing PPE for NHS staff just to name a few. Businesses are taking this as an opportunity to become more responsible. One of the most influential changes that has emerged in the economy is that companies will be expected to have a greater societal responsibility.

ESG strategies (Environmental, Social and Governance) will be used to a greater extent when large investors interrogate companies. This means that they will have to be more accountable for their environmental, social and governance impacts to ensure that profit making is not their only priority. There is a significant beneficial outcome for society that we can take from these times, and I hope that we may begin to see the economy working closer with the social connections within our world.

People are using their local shops and suppliers more than they usually do. We have developed a greater appreciation of the role that small local businesses play in our community. As a result people have gone out of their way to support local shops and suppliers through these tough economic times. From a community point of view the hope is that some of this will continue into the future. We must make this happen.

Life before the pandemic distracted us with global development and speed and we perhaps undervalued smaller insignificances of life that we now rely on at this time. We are turning to our neighbours for a sense of social interaction and communication. This is something that was more heavily prevalent in the past, something that I feel we had slightly lost as our jobs and technology consume our constant attention, moving it away from physical socialising. Maybe you are not noticing the difference in this slightly changed habit of perhaps chatting over the fence for slightly longer than usual, or helping by dropping of some milk at the house opposite. However, it is the elderly, the lonely, the isolated who are recognizing this greater sense of awareness of others demonstrated through compassion. Perhaps we will see a stronger sense of what a good community spirit feels like in the future.

Rosie

Our response to Covid-19

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