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 Schools and Covid-19
 Three heads explain how they have found teaching solutions to the pandemic restrictions
 Woodbridge
School Head,
Shona Norman
This has not been a
year that any of us
expected, but this
global crisis has
brought to the fore what Woodbridge School is and what we represent. When lockdown was announced we were already prepared to work remotely and our first week of online learning before the end of term was a success.
A return to school has only been possible thanks to the tremendous efforts and continued resilience of staff and students, and the ongoing support of parents. Our priority has been to deliver as full an education as possible, in as normal an environment as possible, mindful at all times of the exigencies of health and safety. During lockdown, school was still recognisably school: we had assemblies, House competitions, structured and timetabled lessons and the inspiration of our teachers was placed on a new, flexible platform, which could be accessed at any time.
One of the key attributes that we instill in Woodbridgians is creativity through adaptability, which explains why our community has coped so well with the challenges that we have faced, and we are now in an even stronger position to be able to deal with any developments that might arise in the future.
Brookes Principal Graham Ellis
“The wellbeing of children has always been our first priority and this helped to guide our decisions when planning for a safe return. We have rigorously applied the guidelines to keep everyone safe, and our small class sizes and spacious campus mean that we have been able to offer a full curriculum to all our students. We have a robust plan to remain open but we’re ready to switch to remote lessons if necessary. Like all schools, we’re learning as we go along and as a small school we are agile and can adapt quickly to the circumstances.”
Framlingham College Principal, Louise North (above)
As a Microsoft Showcase School, Framlingham College reacted swiftly to the need for remote learning. We were determined to deliver lessons of the highest quality during this period. Before the lockdown arrived, all staff and pupils at the Prep and Senior Schools had been trained in the use of Microsoft Teams. All pupils in the Senior School are expected to bring a device to school and therefore the idea of using Teams to learn was not a huge leap to make. They embraced the opportunity.
We are mindful of the amount of screen time our children are exposed to in any given day, whether that is mobile phone use or use of their device. Moving to Remote Learning posed a challenge for us, therefore. How would we ensure a balance between screen time and down time, if every lesson was delivered through Teams? The answer was to create a schedule that brought more breaks from the screen, that set off-screen challenges for our pupils and ensured that they spent time outside, exercising, exploring nature and getting fresh air.
Living and learning from home has many other challenges too: whole families suddenly thrown together having been used to having time apart, the line between home and school being blurred, the loss of order and routine that school brings to a family. Our pastoral structures remained in place: our pupils still met with their tutor, our pastoral staff staying connected with parents, and chapel services and assemblies kept a sense of routine and connection that is so important.
We pulled together, looked after each other, celebrated successes and shared each other’s disappointments. Now we are back together, the feeling is stronger than ever.
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