RSM Online – January 2021
Mr Culverwell spoke to the Surrey Mirror about RSM Online, the school’s remote learning programme.
The new year has unfortunately brought with it another lockdown and a return to remote teaching and learning for all schools across the country. We are disappointed not to be able to have our pupils back in person and will miss very much their busy happy sounds around the school site. However, we have been able to smoothly switch to our comprehensive RSM Online programme and have built upon the experience and success of our provision last year, to ensure our children continue to receive an accelerated pace of learning and extensive curriculum whilst at home.
At Reigate St Mary’s the curriculum has always been carefully tailored to the needs of our children and is the cornerstone of the excellent academic outcomes we achieve year on year. To ensure this continues online, we have once again looked at the current progression of each individual year group, the learning they have completed to date and the plans in place for the remainder of the year. We use this information to ensure RSM Online provides the same broad range of subjects and rich curriculum, at the same pace and level, that the children would have been taught had they been at school. Remote lessons are continually adapted to make sure they are exciting and engaging and parental feedback has once again been extremely positive.
It has been a wonderful week for the children and the breadth of subjects and activities have all been excellent. Year 3 Parent
This time around, we have adapted our blend of live and recorded lessons which are delivered via the Firefly Platform for Years 1 to 6 and Tapestry for our younger children. The advantage of these platforms is that they facilitate continuous feedback. During the last lockdown, the children responded brilliantly to this and we have already seen them smoothly adapt to the change once again. Regular feedback from teachers is an essential part of successful learning online and is a key feature of our home-schooling programme. Teachers review every piece of work daily, and the Firefly and Tapestry platforms enable excellent two-way personalised communication. The children particularly enjoy leaving voice notes and using emoji’s. This feedback is an essential part of keeping the children motivated; at RSM we believe in intrinsic motivation which is gained from the satisfaction of achieving individual learning goals and teachers make sure the children stay on track with regular interaction.
The combination of live Microsoft Teams lessons and self-study sessions have been a big success. Thank you. Year 5 Parent
As we approach the end of the first week of term, we would like to pass on our thanks to all the Year 6 teachers. The varied timetable has been engaging and motivating and our child has really enjoyed the opportunity to learn with his peers during the live lessons, which he has particularly looked forward to, along with the afternoon wellbeing and reading sessions. Year 6 Parent
Of course, all of this has to be balanced with time away from the screen. Often it is whilst riding bikes, playing in the garden or being a bit bored that true creativity is fostered. Last time, it was lovely to see super artwork and to hear about dens being built, wildlife being spotted, and new outdoor skills learnt. The children’s wellbeing is always our absolute priority and activities to support this remain 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. Recorded weekly assemblies, often featuring areas around the school grounds, helped to maintain a sense of community and fun and we are looking forward to a new series of these for the Spring term.
In every situation in life, it is not that difficult to find good in what appears to be so bad, and there were certainly a number of silver linings resulting from the last pandemic lockdown. We have seen a rapid independence in our children in relation to online learning and the application of information technology. Their responsiveness to new technology is a marvellous indicator of their adaptability and resilience which are important future skills. As a school we promote the importance of adaptability in a rapidly changing world. Our children are preparing today for jobs which do not yet exist. The enormous shifts in technology and globalization that are expected to transform the workplace, as we roll on through the 21st century, have already begun. In many industries and countries, some of the most in-demand jobs did not even exist 10 years ago — and this pace of change will only accelerate. This being the case, the ability to adapt and to apply learning, (especially IT applications), in an array of different areas and to have resilience under pressure could not be more valuable. A real silver lining indeed!