We are very proud of our remote learning and the way in which we have successfully migrated the whole school day online.
Our passion for bringing out the best in every child, igniting a love of learning and seeing it glow, has not been dampened by the lockdown. Our staff have risen to the challenge and opportunity to embrace new approaches, and the children have adapted brilliantly. In the text below, you will see just how we have done this, and how we have successfully offered a tailored approach to learning which supports both pastoral care and support, alongside academic excellence. From Choir to Reception story time; science experiments to Form birthday celebrations; hockey lessons to Story Slam heats – we have maintained the Surbiton spirit, high expectations and academic rigour that our children deserve.
EMBEDDED USE OF TECHNOLOGY
For many years, technology has been available to enhance, enrich and increase efficacy of teaching and, as a School, we have been at the forefront of technological implementation in the classroom for a long time. iPad integration on a 1:1 basis for Years 3 to 6 began over four years ago, and our Reception to Year 2 pupils embrace digital technology within the classroom environment. The School is at the forefront of digital strategy and this led to us receiving ‘Apple Distinguished School’ status in 2019.
The Prep Schools use ‘Tapestry’ in Reception and ‘Seesaw’ in Key Stage 1. Both these platforms provide a link between the home and school environments, which is pivotal in the younger years. As these platforms were already well established to benefit pupils and parents, they provided the perfect solution to turn around remote learning ready for school closures. Key Stage 2 pupils also use further apps that support their learning, such as ‘Showbie’, which are being used exactly as they were in School, yet embellished with even more resources uploaded. Additionally, we have added in the relevant Microsoft365 apps, such as ‘Teams’, which allow remote learning to take place and allow our tutor groups to meet virtually.
We were able to offer remote learning during the first closure, and gained a great deal of insight into what worked for our children and families, and what could be improved. We were therefore in a very strong position in January to offer a full timetable of live, interactive lessons and pastoral support. We are now looking at engaging ways to bring learning to life; reducing screen time whilst offering 100% live teaching for all age groups. All lessons have live interaction between pupils, and with the teacher. There are also chances to split children into smaller ‘breakout rooms’ for enhanced discussion and group work. All work is submitted, and then marked and fed back in a variety of ways by the teacher, ensuring the children know how to move their learning forwards.
LINKS TO HOME
We pride ourselves on our working relationship with our families, and are committed to ensuring that the lockdown does not get in the way of this. Parents have regular communication with staff as and when they need it, as well as hearing weekly from the School about the week ahead. Parents have been supported every step of the way with the move to online learning, including how to use the platforms and how to ensure their children can connect with their lessons. Further to this, the Heads host an open floor Q and A session with parents each week to take feedback, share updates and answer any queries that our parents may have. All parents have access to their children’s learning platforms, and are able to see the work being completed and the feedback from the teachers. This is an important part of building your child’s education and approach to School. We also have a wonderful Parents’ Association who have kept the sense of community going with various events and communications – the live gin tasting being a very popular choice!
There are a wide range of activities that encompass the Prep Schools’ Physical Education content delivered to both boys and girls. During lockdown we have been releasing daily sports challenges on Twitter which involve the whole PE staff body. This has seen a great uptake amongst pupils, parents and staff and supports our community, uniting us through sport and #SHSTogether. The challenges provide a focus for pupils during these times, with videos being uploaded to the Showbie App for all pupils to access throughout the week, to suit their timetable.
In EYFS (Reception) and Key Stage One, each year group has two designated PE lessons a week. These focus on four areas of learning; athletics, cricket, fundamental skills and ball skills. In addition to that, pre-recorded workouts run by the PE teachers are uploaded on days when no PE content is being taught. These have included superhero themed exercises, Pokemon adventures and a range of innovative physical exercise for the pupils to be involved in.
The PE curriculum for Key Stage Two incorporates three elements; physical challenges, a skill challenge and theory work. These are uploaded at various points throughout the week for the children to access and respond to. The physical challenges are made available three times a week and involve a member of staff from the PE department pre-recording a workout for the pupils to follow on their screen. These have included; HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), specific leg and core workouts and themed agility classes using an app called HomeCourt. Each skill activity is tailored to the boys and girls specifically and is following our summer curriculum with lessons in cricket, tennis and athletics. The theory work is produced once a week and covers a wide range of topics such as diet, nutrition, muscles in the body and heart rate.
We have been overwhelmed with the interaction through videos and correspondence on the range of apps and so impressed with how creative, independent and energetic the pupils have been since returning back to School after a lockdown.
Our focus on well-being continues, despite the distance that divides us. In times such as these, is it imperative that we support and nourish our pupils. Our full complement of pastoral support continues, including daily Form Time where pupils can check in and start the day by interacting with their Form Teacher and class mates. Weekly mentoring continues for all Key Stage 2 pupils, and provides an excellent opportunity to talk about how remote learning is going, and to share strategies on keeping a healthy, happy mind. Our assemblies are also continuing as planned, giving us all a chance to meet as a community; learning and celebrating together.
The School’s commitment to serving others has also continued with an engaging approach to fundraising events. These have included a festive shoe box appeal, a digital download of all children singing, and dance competitions, to name but a few. The children have loved taking part in these whole school events, bringing a sense of collaborative endeavour whilst also living our motto, ‘May love always lead us’.
One of our Prep School Deputy Heads of Pastoral, Sally Johnston, created a series of engaging well-being activity sheets for our current Key Stage One pupils. Each sheet focuses on different aspects of well-being, such as positivity, empathy, reflection and relationships: