School doing ‘all we can’ to support home-learning

By Ross Gazette reporter   |   Reporter   |
Wednesday 6th January 2021 12:42 pm
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TEACHERS and support staff have pledged to do “all we can to support well-being and learning” over the next few weeks, parents of John Kyrle High School students have been told.

Monday night’s announcement of a new national lockdown, probably until at least mid-February, means that all pupils except children of key workers will be learning at home from the restart of term.

And in a letter to parents and carers of the school’s 1,400-plus students yesterday (Tuesday, December 5), headteacher Nigel Griffiths spelt out how schooling will operate over the coming weeks.

He said: “Until further notice, school is only open for the children of key workers and those for whom we have already made specific arrangements with parents/carers…

“We await further guidance in terms of external summer examinations for Years 11, 12 and 13, and I will write to relevant parents/carers when we have this.

“It is essential that students continue to focus upon their schoolwork. If last year’s model is followed, we will provide centre-assessed grades and will need evidence of current work to support this process.”

He said the internet application ’Show My Homework’ (SMHW) would be “the predominant mechanism” for setting work, while there would be an increasing amount of “live learning” via ‘Microsoft Teams’.

“The (SMHW) platform was hugely successful in the spring and summer and we are very pleased with student engagement - thank you for your support in this. We know it is not always easy,” he added.

Mr Griffiths said that heads of department met virtually on Monday to focus on enhancing online provision.

“Students can expect a variety of learning experiences,” he revealed. “This will include teachers explaining topics to their classes in real time, tutorials, pre-recorded material, and smaller group work.

“There will also be individual phone calls from the pastoral teams as before.”

Open Reach have been at the school this week upgrading the broadband to 1GB, and Mr Griffiths told parents he has authorised the ordering of more laptops, and they should contact the school if one was needed, with priority being given to disadvantaged and vulnerable students.

“Students will be given good notice of what to expect, and when, via SMHW,” he added.

“All learning will take place within the normal school timetable.

“Students who are unable to access work at the prescribed time will in no way be disadvantaged. They can use SMHW whenever they wish to see everything their teachers set.”

The head also pointed parents to “excellent resources” put on the platform by the PE department, saying “it is essential students stay fit”, and they should view them with their children.

Mental well-being was equally important, he added, and the letter included contact details at the school and the availability of external support if needed.

Mr Griffiths continued: “A further benefit of our experiences in the spring/summer was even better communication between home and school.

“You know where we are every day. We are here to help. Please email or ring us with any matter, good or bad, big or small, and we will do all you can to support you.

“Like you, I hope this will all be over soon. I really enjoyed last term. Student attendance at over 95 per cent showed they enjoyed it as well.

“We will do all we can to support well-being and learning over the next few weeks.

“We are still in the transition phase of the repair, recover and strengthen strategy I shared previously.

“To coin another of my phrases, we did this at school via ‘ordinary magic’ and will do the same when we meet up again.”

Key worker parents who require their children to attend school should email their request to [email protected]

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