Head’s Blog: Continuity of Education

Elmhurst School for Boys

24th June 2020 | Headmaster's Blog

Head’s Blog: Continuity of Education

Continuity of education and pupil wellbeing were our first priorities when the Government announced school closure due to Covid 19. As educators and parents we all want the very best for our boys and a collaborative approach to the transition to online learning was clearly important to achieve success. 

We knew what we wanted online learning to look like - continuity of education from home with progress being made by each and every boy, as if they were still onsite and in the classroom. How to achieve this with such a short period of time for preparation and planning, was the challenge. 

I am so proud of how the Elmhurst staff, boys and parents adapted so quickly to online learning; live lessons started from the first day of school closure and key workers’ children were catered for at school. Despite a very successful opening week, it was clear that parents working from home whilst supporting their boys’ home learning, pupil well being, increased screen time and technology issues were challenges faced across The Elmhurst Family. 

We loaned out all of our Chromebooks, we increased the amount of time given over to exercise and screen breaks, and we provided more live and recorded lessons for all. Soon it became clear that the boys and parents were engaging in online learning, settling into more of a routine at home and that the continuity of education we wanted was being achieved. The evidence of this was clear from the feedback we were receiving from both pupils and parents, which was overwhelmingly positive.

To support pupil wellbeing, Mme Hargreaves asked the staff to film themselves doing activities which support their personal wellbeing, such as stretching, singing, exercising and yoga. We set The Wellbeing Challenge and boys were soon reporting back on how they were looking after themselves at home; the 2.6 Challenge raised money for our Joshua Community and Care Centre with a commitment from both boys and families to the cause; the Black Lives Matter movement became a focus following the death of George Floyd, and the boys expressed themselves incredibly eloquently about their feelings on this matter through poetry, song and art.

Our aim for the phased reopening of school from 1st June was to provide onsite education for as many boys as possible before the end of term and I am delighted that from Monday 29th June, we will have welcomed all year groups back to Elmhurst. 

Now we are coming to the end of the most extraordinary term and our thoughts turn to how we provide for our community in September and under the conditions of ‘The New Normal’. 

I hope you can all enjoy the summer break with some quality time together. My thoughts are with the Year 5 and 6 boys who are moving on to their chosen secondary schools. The majority of Year 5 boys who will continue their preparations for the 11+ exams in September and with all of the new boys and their families who will be joining The Elmhurst Family for the first time in September. As well as of course, all families and staff who have supported us throughout this unprecedented period in our lives.

Take care and stay safe!

 

Mr. Padfield

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