While all schools in The Corinium Education Trust physically closed to most pupils for the foreseeable future on Friday 20 March 2020, we are delighted that children of all ages have already begun to engage in our new online learning communities.
The initial response has been tremendous and pupils and parents have been sharing photographic evidence of the progress being made!
Leaders across the Trust took the decision to prepare pupils, parents and staff for the event of a nationwide closure well ahead of Friday 20 March. We shared our plans and we all took care to set out our expectations; we recommended timetables and signposted resources. This foresight has ensured that many families have already begun to establish new routines and make a smooth transition to learning together at home.
‘I just wanted to say a huge thank you to you all for how you are dealing with such a difficult and unprecedented situation. I have two children, one in Year 7 and the other in Year 11. It’s been an extremely emotional and challenging time for everyone. As a school you have shown support to the Year 11s and continue to do so. My Year 7 has been doing all the work which has been set by her teachers. To think this all just happened a few days ago, it’s amazing that you have got everything up and running already. I just wanted to show our appreciation and say a huge well done to you all.’ Parent, Cirencester Deer Park School.
'I used the timetable sent out by school to make my own timetable for each day with times and subjects. I’ve also included some breaks. This has really helped me to organise myself and to know what I need to do each day. Accessing the work on SMHW has been really easy and all the instructions and explanations that teachers have given have been really easy to follow. I’ve been able to chat to some of my friends as normal and we have been helping each other. I’ve enjoyed being able to keep busy every day, otherwise it would get really boring!' Year 8 pupil, Cirencester Deer Park School.
Since Monday 23 March, pupils in each of our schools have been able to access a comprehensive range of learning tasks set and assigned by their class teachers. These are purposeful and relevant to the curriculum they would have been following. They promote curiosity and creativity; they provide challenge and support. These ‘lessons’ include new learning which will extend pupils’ knowledge and understanding and revision tasks that will enable them to practise and refine their skills.
Cirencester Deer Park School has reported that over 800 pupils and 300 parents are currently logging onto Show My Homework daily and communications are frequently exchanged between pupils and their teachers about the tasks they have been assigned. This is impressive. It is a great start! Significantly, many pupils in Year 11 have chosen to continue their learning with the school. This continuing commitment to their studies will help ease the transition and bridge the gaps between now and when they begin their new courses. While the school is currently using Show My Homework to assign tasks, teachers are planning to move pupils in Years 9, 10 and 11 to learning remotely in real time from Monday 20 April. A new timetable will include scheduled lessons in Microsoft Teams. Read more...
Our younger learners are also responding positively to the challenge: ‘Our son is so enthusiastic and excited about all the activities and that he can keep in touch via the blog. He was desperate to log onto Kodable and has enjoyed doing an ‘hour of code’ as part of his learning.’ Parent, Kemble Primary School.
At Chesterton, Kemble and Siddington C of E Primary Schools each child was given a special exercise book to work in and teachers in each primary School have worked together to create a range of home learning. These include daily Maths and English challenges, Science, research and creative tasks linked to their class topics and links to many websites to keep them fit and healthy.
‘The activities are brilliant - really fun and easy to follow. They have been a lifesaver and it’s only day one!’
Parents have across the Trust have valued the quality of the information they have received and feel well informed:
‘Thank you so much for inspiring the children to make the most of this time and continue their learning journey.’ ‘I just wanted to say a huge thanks for all the work you and the team have put into the home learning packs and to keeping the children so calm and secure in such challenging times.’
Carol Dougill, Executive Headteacher of Kemble and Siddington C of E Primary Schools stressed. ‘It is so important that parents and staff work closely together during this unsettling time.' She and her team plan to 'keep in touch', regularly refresh tasks on the class pages of the schools’ websites and provide extra activities.
Karen Venner, Headteacher of Chesterton Primary School, has been impressed by her pupils’ continuing engagement in learning and echoed these sentiments too. She commended the strong sense of team work across The Corinium Education Trust and the support headteachers and their wider school teams are giving each other and our families: 'You have made life so much easy for us as a family. The learning online has been brilliant and knowing that the children are well cared for when we have to work eases the worry.'
For children who are coming to school, staff are working with the children in PE, Forest School, Sport coaching and supporting their online learning. The staff are having as much fun as the children and there is a holiday club feel.
While home learning is currently a novelty, it is very important we all continue to work together to establish new routines and maintain the rhythm and momentum of learning into the foreseeable future. We cherish our pupils’ young minds and we want to ensure they remain curious and develop as active resilient and resourceful independent learners.