The last few months has been very different for the children at Banstead Prep School, and all children in UK schools. Asked to close on 20 March to support a national lockdown to suppress the Coronavirus pandemic, the children had to continue their education at home with the support of their families and teachers.
With little notice of the closure, and only a week of term to go before the Easter holidays, the staff team turned their attention to creating a week of activities that the children could complete at home to round off the terms curriculum topics. The work was delivered using methods such as email and Microsoft office files, with which the children were familiar, to avoid introducing new technology at the same time that children and parents were adapting to being at home. During this time, the staff were already learning and innovating, and the school was working quickly to find a more interactive solution for the summer term.
We created bansteadprep.com/remote-learning/, bringing remote learning access links together in one place, and updated frequently to ensure parents can easily find up to date guidance and information. Using SeeSaw, an educational app that the children had used at school, in a new way to support home learning made the programme easily accessible to the children.
We built on progress made before Easter to provide:
- Greater structure for the children including weekly assemblies and challenges to reinforce the whole school community.
- Work that children can mostly access and complete (dependent on age/child) with minimal parental oversight.
- Guidance and regular pastoral support from teachers, contact with form groups and support via live clinics
- Clear, step by step expectations of what the children need to do, and advance warning if additional equipment or materials needed to complete the task
- Instructions and feedback provided via voice-over or video so the children can hear and see their teachers
- A clear reward system to help motivate the children to learn at home
To find out how well the new programme has been received, Banstead Prep School took part in a group wide pulse survey of children, parents and staff and the results were overwhelmingly positive. 91% of Banstead Prep parents said that the school is providing a good variety of learning tasks, 88% think the work set is challenging and 84% agreed that school is offering extra things for children to do such as encouraging physical activity and reading. Just as importantly, 79% feel that the school cares about them, their child and their needs and 80% of parents feel they are getting enough information and support from school about how to help their children with learning at home.
Mike Gibb, Headteacher was delighted with the results. “We have an incredible staff team here at Banstead Prep, who really care about the children, their individual progress and their wellbeing. They’ve all really risen to the challenge, working exceptionally hard and going above and beyond to deliver a creative and engaging programme of work and providing personalised feedback and support for the children.”