Lockdown brought with it an unprecedented challenge for schools with the need to move children’s entire learning online in a very short space of time. 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. When lockdown began on 23 March, it was important that this high standard of education and fast pace of learning was maintained whilst the children were at home.
We looked at the current progression of each individual year group, their learning to date and the plans in place for the remainder of the year. Using this information, we remodelled the existing curriculum, to ensure that learning could continue remotely in the same way it would have done, had the children been in school.
Using the well-established, prep-school friendly Firefly platform (for Year 1 upwards) and Tapestry (for Early Years), we were up and running in a short space of time. Knowing that feedback is an essential part of learning, our teachers reviewed every piece of work submitted by the children daily, as they would have done had they been at school. The children loved this two-way personalised communication and particularly enjoyed utilising voice notes and emoji’s. As the weeks went by, the teachers were delighted with the standard of work the children were submitting, throughout the year groups.
“The teachers have obviously put a LOT of work, time and thought into the lesson plans and content on Firefly. The range of resources and formats has kept my daughter engaged and stimulated, and we love the content from Music, PE, Spanish and Art as well as the core academic subjects. The eagle-eyed feedback from the teachers is a great incentive. A huge thank you to them.”
Year 4 Parent
Of course, all of this had 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. It was lovely to see super art work 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 were an integral part of the weekly curriculum. Form times via Microsoft Teams ensured that teachers and children could talk face-to-face. Recorded weekly assemblies, often featuring areas around the school grounds, helped to maintain a sense of cohesiveness and fun across the community.
We were absolutely delighted to be able to welcome back all our children in June for the final weeks of the last academic year. Thankfully, the new Autumn term has seen a return to near normality with all the children enjoying being back with their friends within the comprehensive protocols and procedures we have in place.
However, we are fully ready to switch once again to our comprehensive remote learning programme should the need arise.