Students and teachers at the school have been able to smoothly switch to comprehensive online schooling building on the experience and success of previous lockdowns
The new year brought with it another lockdown and a return to remote teaching for Reigate St Mary’s (RSM). The school, however, has been able to smoothly switch to comprehensive online schooling and has built upon the experience and success of previous lockdowns to ensure children receive an accelerated pace of learning and an extensive curriculum at home.
The curriculum at RSM has always been carefully tailored to the needs of each child and is the cornerstone of the excellent academic outcomes it achieves year on year.
To ensure this continues online, the school has looked again at the current progression of each individual year group, accessing their learning to date and the plans for the rest of the year. The online provision reflects the same, broad range of subjects and rich curriculum and remote lessons are continually adapted to ensure they’re as exciting and engaging as they would be in school.
A blend of live and recorded lessons
The school has adapted its blend of live and recorded lessons – on Firefly for years one to six and Tapestry for younger children. These platforms have the advantage of having continuous feedback and over the previous lockdown, children responded brilliantly and are adapting well again this time.
Teachers provide regular feedback, which is an essential part of successful online learning and is a key feature of the school’s home-schooling programme. They review every piece of work daily, and the platforms allow for excellent two-way personalised communication. Children especially enjoy leaving voice notes and emojis for their teachers!
RSM believes in intrinsic motivation, gained from the satisfaction of achieving individual learning goals, which also means teachers can make sure children stay on track for their goals via regular interaction.
Balancing screen-time with time enjoying the outdoors
All this is carefully balanced with time away from the screen, the children often ride bikes and play outside which is often when creativity is fostered. Over the last lockdown, the school saw a range of artwork, dens being built outside, wildlife being spotted and new skills being learnt outside.
Wellbeing is RSM’s main priority and activities to promote wellbeing are an integral part of the weekly online curriculum.
From nursery upwards, form times via Microsoft Teams ensured that teachers and children talked face-to-face and recorded weekly assemblies, often featuring areas around the school grounds, helped to maintain a sense of community.
Looking for the good in every situation
The whole school has looked for the good in every seemingly bad situation and pointed out that there were a number of silver linings in the last lockdown if you looked closely.
The school reports rapid independence in their children, especially in relation to online learning and new technologies – which is a marvellous indicator of their adaptability and resilience, both of which are important life skills.
The school places focus on looking to the future in a rapidly-changing world, preparing their children for jobs that don’t even exist yet, to respond to the enormous shifts in technology, globalisation and workplace transformations. Therefore, the ability to adapt and apply learning and skills in an array of different areas, along with having resilience under pressure couldn’t be more valuable.
SOHO Learning Hub which is an online platform for short courses.