Keble: The Lowdown on Lockdown
As we find ourselves once again in lockdown and our school closed to the majority of boys, we have all moved completely online again. Here’s a quick update for the whole community on what is happening across the entire school.
All pupils continue to be registered each morning by form and class teachers via a Live Meet. This is an important time to allow teachers and boys to maintain communication. Form teachers in the senior school can pass on messages from subject teachers and check on the welfare of the boys.
Reception and Y1 this week moved over to Google Classroom. They still have access to Seesaw but moving to Classroom has enabled the teachers to record longer and more detailed lessons, and to add more resources for the boys and parents.
Teachers continue to use a blended learning approach, combining Live Meet and screen recordings. The screen recordings allow parents of the younger boys to schedule their lessons for the child and decide the best time for them. This development was in response to staff and parent requests and is, we hope, a real improvement for all.
Years 2, 3 and 4 have increased their Live Meets. Teachers here continue to also use a blended learning approach, blending together a range of pre-recorded lessons with an increased selection of Live Meets. Each type of lesson has its benefits, and different children find benefit from each approach. Blending the two has been found, especially with younger children, to have a better result and allows for greater flexibility for parents. A super example of a Live Meet can be seen in the blog about Year 4’s Roman Day.
Years 5 – 8 continue to have Live Meets across the curriculum and follow the normal timetable. As with the younger boys, all pupils access their resources from their subject classrooms. Understandably, at times some pupils are unable to attend a lesson due to illness or exams, and should make sure they check their classrooms for resources and check with teachers on what they need to catch up on. Lessons, especially during remote learning, build on the previous lesson and this does make it even more important that all boys follow up on missed work, especially in Years 7 & 8. To help with this, screen recorded videos are accessible in some subjects and Live Meets, when recorded, can be found in the calendar a few hours later added there by Google automatically . Please do note though, as I have found this week, technology can let us down in this regard at times. My wifi from Virgin media this week has been really struggling, and each time I tried to record my Meets it collapsed the Meet, which was frustrating. The issue has hopefully been repaired as my internet connection seems more stable today. See the image below for how to find recorded Meets.
Research from the last lockdown pointed to these 5 areas as having the greatest impact
Teaching quality is more important than how lessons are delivered – Each teacher will have a different approach, it is often the relationship with the class, the delivery of resources, the use of modelling and guided examples and time taken to make sure all the boys understand the material.
Ensuring access to technology is key, especially for disadvantaged pupils – Making sure all pupils have access to a device and wifi to support their learning.
Peer interactions can provide motivation and improve learning outcomes – pupil discussions during lessons, peer to peer assessment of each other ‘s work, and time to develop their ideas working over multiple lessons. Not all lessons conclude in one 45 minute session.
Supporting pupils to work independently can improve learning outcomes – This is particularly important. Although it is tempting for parents to help their son complete work or support during lessons, this does not always help them become more independent and should be avoided if possible. Please resist the temptation, particularly in Year 5-8 where work is designed to be completed independently.
Different approaches to remote learning suit different types of content and pupils – This refers to blended learning
Communication is the key, and all boys should let their teachers know if they have any issues. We have small classes and know our boys well. We would appreciate parents continuing to communicate with school so we can evolve and develop our remote learning together for the benefit of all. During this lockdown our support staff have played an even greater role. From supporting our Key Worker pupils at school to joining classes across the school. many support staff have taken small groups and one to one sessions with pupils to support. Mrs Pontin, Mrs Stringer and Mr Turner, who make up the pastoral team, have worked tirelessly to provide resources on Mental Health (found on the parent dashboard), support lessons and make sure they are available for 1-1 Meets for any that need greater support during these times.
It is important to balance our need to learn through technology with our health. At times we all have frustrating times when our wifi refuses to perform. Most have had some issues with dropping wifi and freezing video links. The best thing we can do to help with this is to communicate. All boys have access to the teachers via Google classroom and can email the staff if they need any extra support. We are here to help as much as we can. Parents can email me and with help from the school technician, I will always do what I can to try and sort out any issues.
It is also important to balance our need to learn through technology with our health, and to prioritise exercise and time set aside for pupils to communicate with each other. Mr Turner has a wonderful bank of activities to help the boys maintain they physical activity levels. Year 8 are encouraged to create some social meets during the week to have catch up time with their friends. This could be a Wednesday afternoon activity. We are aware still more evolving is needed and we continue to listen to advice and take on board comments and respond where we can.
A huge thank you to those who nominated the school for independent school of the year. We are delighted to have been shortlisted along with some other excellent schools (the attached image just shows those alphabetically close to us). This is a great morale booster in these difficult times.
Finally, Mr Gill continues to record his assemblies for the boys, which can also be found on the parent dashboard, and to support pupils, staff, and parents with his calm and thoughtful approach, working late nights and weekends, keeping the governors informed and supporting the whole school in too many ways to record here.