During the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020, the school buildings may have been temporarily closed, but Peregrines Nursery and Falcons School for Girls remained very much open. While we may not have been in the classroom, we adapted our provision and made a hugely successful shift to remote education. Following the announcement of another national lockdown in January 2021, we made a hugely successful transition back to our School In the Cloud for Reception to Year 6 pupils.
Find out more about what we offered our pupils below.
Every week, children were set tasks on our virtual learning platform to complete throughout the week. English and Maths tasks were set daily. The timetable worked on a Week A and Week B basis to provide variety in the afternoon sessions, with non-core subjects such as Spanish, Drama or History.
Daily live video lessons provided pupils with the opportunity to see and interact with one another and their teachers while continuing to learn. This ensured children could still discuss topics, ask questions and get clarification verbally, as they would in a classroom environment.
We know that early 11+ preparation is key. In order to equip Year 3 to Year 6 girls with the knowledge and skills to excel in verbal and non-verbal reasoning, we enlisted the use of a specialist online platform. We are also ensured that all our 11+ support clubs for Year 5 pupils continued to take place, albeit online.
We invested in a major library resource during the 2020 lockdown – used from Nursery through to Year 6 – to enable children to enjoy one-to-one reading time with their teachers. This virtual library contains thousands of age-appropriate books for children to choose from, and by reading a book to their teacher over Zoom, pupils were able to develop their reading skills in a fun and interactive manner, much like they would do face-to-face.
We know just how much anxiety and confusion the current times may be causing children, as well as their families. This is why our offering ensured that pastoral care, for which our school is well known, was very much at the forefront of all we did. We offered group and individual drop-in sessions at the end of every school day for children to share concerns and successes. Additionally, parents could email teachers with any queries or concerns they had and video calls were arranged on request.
A drop-down day was scheduled every half term, to provide Falcons pupils – and their parents – with a break from screens. In this off-timetable day, the focus was primarily on doing a creative, engaging project that requires no technology. During the 2020 lockdown, two of these major events included a celebration of VE Day and a Virtual Sports Day, which replaced our yearly day of sport.
Clubs were offered in varying formats – as live sessions, recorded in advance or through accessing a link. Our extra-curricular activities included street dance, yoga, plus LAMDA and instrumental lessons.
We have a dedicated space on our virtual learning platform for online safety. Parents and children were actively encouraged to explore the resources in order to help pupils stay safe and to respect others while using the internet and social media. Helpful links, posters and presentations continue to be shared regularly for the school community’s benefit.