Within a week of entering 2021 the nation was put on lockdown once more. With minimal notice, plans had to be cancelled, businesses and schools were closed, parents hoped their home IT was up to the challenge and school staff aged a few years overnight.
Within a day, Hopelands Preparatory School teachers moved their lessons online and the virtual timetable, which had been developed to strengthen pupils’ resilience and continue their passion for learning, was implemented. The virtual timetable mirrors the school day and runs from 8.30-3.30. Every subject continues to be taught including art, DT, dance, French, PE, and music. The children attend the lessons, interact with their form teachers, see their friends, ask questions, and receive feedback on their work. We know that home schooling can be both uninspiring and isolating, so having this interaction with teachers and peers is key to continuing the successful relationship the pupils have with our school. To date we have had an outstanding high engagement rate with our pupils through the virtual learning which we are incredibly proud of.
There are 10-minute breaks between each lesson as well as the longer morning and afternoon breaks and time for a healthy lunch. Children are encouraged to move away from the screen, run around outside or play with their siblings or toys.
Parents have both embraced and supported the timetable and have been instrumental in encouraging their children to carry on their love of learning. We have listened and acknowledged their feedback as it is important for us to understand how we can further support our families through these difficult times.
- ‘I am amazed and grateful for how well the online learning appears to be working and a credit to all those involved in accomplishing this. Thank you. Our son is certainly more comfortable with the experience this time round, if still a little reluctant to open his camera! Tomorrow morning’s music session might sort that out as he presents his violin and a short piece of music!’
- ‘We have been blown away by how brilliant you have all been this term, and prior to this lockdown. It is evident there has been a huge amount of work going on behind the scenes preparing for a possible lockdown, but to roll out a full online timetable for all 6 classes with 24 hours’ notice is incredible! The communication has been fantastic, both from you all in the office, but also from all the teachers keeping us updated with lesson plans. We were very impressed with how the class teacher adjusted her teaching plans considering feedback from some of the parents, adapting content and providing resources such that classes could be carried out off-line if that was the parents’ preference. She has also been brilliant these last two days managing on-line teaching and 4 students in class. We are reminded, yet again, how pleased we are that we decided to send our child to Hopelands…. as before in the previous lockdown, the ‘I can, I will, I do’ attitude shines through.’
- ‘We are so deeply grateful for the day we stepped into the Head Teachers office: two confused worried parents, too frightened to make the change to Prep School. “Well, what are you waiting for?!” you asked us quite firmly! It was just the shake we needed. Our daughter is flying at grammar school and we are so grateful for the excellent quality of teaching our youngest child is receiving at Hopelands. So, thank you one and all.
- ‘Just wanted to say what a fantastic job you and the rest of the staff are doing. The Government really did spring it on everyone this time, but it has been incredibly smooth and well organised. Both my children really enjoyed the school experience yesterday, so thank you’
- ‘We just wanted to say how pleased and impressed we are with the provision of teaching during the lockdown. It’s great to see how well the children and teachers can work together remotely.’
Choosing the right primary school for your child is one of the hardest decisions for any family and made even more difficult during a national lockdown. At such a young age, you are deciding the next 7 years of your child’s school life. Everybody has a different set of criteria in terms of what they are looking for in a school. However, most families want to ensure their child achieves the following:
- Academic Excellence
and most importantly to instil a love of learning that leads to academic success.
In normal times you can visit different schools and see the children in the classroom environment. As soon as you enter a school, your instincts will tell you, if you have a good feeling about it. However, due to Covid, schools are currently closed to external visitors, which makes choosing much more difficult. There are other ways which can help with your decision:
- Contact the school to arrange a virtual meeting with the Head Teacher. At Hopelands Preparatory School we are happy to organise meetings via Microsoft Teams with our Head, the appropriate class teacher, and the parents. At these meeting you can discuss your needs and hopes for your child. Ask questions, how does the school support high or low achievers, is there a parent / pupil survey which you can look at, where do children normally go to secondary school afterwards, is there morning and/or after school provision etc.
- Study the schools’ website. Is there information on there about the school’s ethos and values? If so, do you agree with them? Read their latest OFSTED/ISI report. Does the school have regular newsletters, it may be useful to have a look through recent ones as this will give you an insight into daily school life. Are the children’s achievements celebrated frequently? Check out the school calendar, is it filled with different trips and excursions? All these will enrich a child’s learning.
- Find out if the school offers extracurricular clubs. If a school has a wide variety of both lunchtime and after school clubs this can really add to a child’s school experience, and is a sign of committed and passionate teachers, who will want to go the extra mile to support your child’s educational journey.
Schools have been, and continue, to be working above and beyond during the pandemic. At Hopelands we are following our timetable online with every subject being delivered including art, PE, music, and dance. Our children have yet again risen to the challenge of virtual learning. They have all engaged and it is clear to see that their in-school training on Teams has been highly beneficial. Their focus, concentration and resilience has been apparent, and we are very proud of them.
If you wish to find out more please call 01453 822164 between 8.30-3.30 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.