From Tuesday 5 January 2021, when the country went back into lockdown, pupils of all ages across The Corinium Education Trust have been provided with superb opportunities to learn at home, and in school, in a variety of different ways.
During this period of lockdown, more pupils took have taken part in live lessons. At Siddington C of E Primary School, children of critical workers and vulnerable learners including those with Education Health and Care Plans in school joined their peers online in lessons led by their class teachers in MS Teams and, as time progressed, teachers have developed their practice and provided personalised learning sessions for targeted pupils; these include practising phonics, reading and maths. Furthermore, all pupils have taken part in special events. Recently, a ‘Roman Day’ for pupils in Years 3 and 4 and a Victorian School day for pupils in Years 1 and 2 online gave the pupils opportunities to recognise the differences between the past and current times. Similarly, holding World Book Day during lockdown enabled an author (virtually, of course) to visit pupils in their homes. Pupils could also see each other dressed up as characters from their class texts.
Katie Cook, Headteacher, reflects ‘The challenges posed by this lockdown have created some fantastic opportunities for the pupils at Siddington Church of England Primary School. Through a blended approach of live lessons, recorded lessons, small group work and supporting the pupils who have been attending school, we are ensuring that our pupils do not miss out on their learning or on some of the social aspects of school life. Parents are able to feel more involved in their children’s learning and teachers are able to ‘drop in’ to each other’s sessions and learn from each other.’
Siddington Parent: ‘I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you all for the hard work that you’ve put into making online schooling as straightforward and supportive to our children. Your encouragement and support to the children and us the parents has also been gratefully received, so a big thank you.’
Pupils at Kemble Primary School are also engaging in online learning and those learning at home are invited to join their peers in school remotely and our teachers have quickly become adept at teaching those physically in front of them and those on screen! Parents have been overwhelmingly supportive: ‘I have been so impressed with the speed and roll out of all the live lessons on offer,’ and ‘the learning has been balanced and thoughtful. We have been so impressed.’
Emma Morrogh-Ryan, Headteacher, recognises ‘Lockdown 3.0 has seen a return to remote learning and all at Kemble have embraced the challenge of ‘live’ lessons. They are delivered by teachers in school simultaneously to both those children of critical workers and vulnerable pupils attending school and those at home with a high level of engagement from all. We hope it will not be too much longer before we can learn together again as one community.'
At Chesterton Primary School 50% of pupils have been attending the in-school provision for children of critical workers and those with special education needs. Teachers have been sharing their lesson materials online in the form of narrated Powerpoint presentations for many of those working from home while some pupils have been able to collect personalised work packs. However, in February, the school extended its provision. Now, many pupils working remotely are being invited to attend focused online sessions. These have been planned to ensure pupils make progress in phonics, English and Maths.
Karen Venner, Headteacher, explains, ‘As a school we recognised that the children at home were beginning to feel isolated from their friends and teachers. The phonics live learning sessions for Reception and Year 1 have really helped not only the children but the parents feel more confident with how Phonics is taught in school. The children have loved being able to see their friends. In Key Stage 2 we have focused on Maths learning and the children have worked in small groups with a teacher to problem solve and undertake Maths challenges.’
Pupils at Cirencester Deer Park School were introduced to live lessons in MS Teams during the first period of lockdown in 2020 and they and their teachers have managed the return to online learning seamlessly. Pupils working independently at home and those attending the in-school provision are able to access ‘blended learning’ with live lessons being complemented by asynchronous activities in Show My Homework. They are able to engage in an average of 3 live lessons a day. This is to help them and their teachers balance time on and off screen. Significantly, the school has increased the number of lessons in MS Teams and extended this provision to cover practical subjects such as Music, Drama, Art and Design and PE. Furthermore, to help targeted pupils identified by their teachers, the school has deployed a team of intervention tutors.
‘I have been really impressed with the commitment of our pupils to remain engaged with their learning remotely during this period of lockdown. Our pupils are on track with their learning and the development of their understanding across a variety of subjects, whilst teachers are expertly supporting them through the provision of high quality teaching and online learning activities.’ Liz Lang, Deputy Head.