At home but still together
The closure of the school and the subsequent directions by the Government to keep our communities and country safe during the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, will have forced so many of us to make fundamental changes to our lives.
Here at King’s, we are doing everything we can to continue to offer the structure and stability of life at school, albeit remotely. We know that for so many, school is like a second home and, in a time of such uncertainty, replicating the sense of community, even though we are not physically together, is critical.
In September 2019, as we moved to our new home, we also introduced a ‘Bring Your Own Device’ digital learning strategy for Year 8 to Upper Sixth. In preparing for the expected closure of schools, we accelerated aspects of the programme and also trained our Year 7s, so that they too would be able to access effective learning at home.
In setting up our ‘virtual’ school, we have recreated the school day as closely as possible:
• We start with an assembly, before lessons begin at 9.15am.
• Lessons are delivered in a variety of ways, including live webinars, and teacher-made videos. There are also ‘non-screen’ activities, such as creating models and cooking. Teachers are available via Microsoft Teams and email, to offer both class and individual support. We have tried to get a good blend of activities, with technology being the facilitator, rather than the end in itself.
• There is a daily fitness task, with which we know many girls (and staff!) start their day.
• House and community events have continued. These have included ‘random acts of kindness’, writing cards and making recordings for the local hospital and Park View Nursing Home.
• Co-curricular activities range from the sixth from medical society (MedSoc) to origami with many more being planned to commence after Easter.
• Friday afternoon activities continue, but are being planned to appeal to all interests.
• Enrichment activities through our Inspire Programme continue, with girls working on their Create Projects, the Bright Ideas Challenge, the Queen's Commonwealth Prize, the Pepys Challenge, as well as putting forward proposals for the short novels and creative thinking research projects they are going to complete in the coming weeks.
• The Inspire Higher Education Programme continues to meet through webinars to offer seminars for all students preparing for Oxford, Cambridge, Law, Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary Science, and any academic course requiring an interview or pre-admissions test.
•Wellbeing is still at the heart of all we do and staff and girls are staying in touch, for example though Form ‘teams’, through group meetings, joining in activities and having conversations about daily life with pastoral staff and Emma, our Wellbeing Mentor.
• The girls are also supporting each other by crafting inspiring messages - these will be shared weekly via email and tweets.
• Collaboration with the boys at Warwick School continues, for example through the Sixth Form Geography Society.
We are also helping our country’s critical workers by offering supervision for their children.
The Head Master, Mr Nicholson, commented: ‘Everyone in our community, as in the rest of the country, is having to show both resilience and adaptability. I am humbled by the work of our pupils and staff, with the support of parents who, together, have made this transition as smooth as possible. As the ‘King’s team’, we have created a truly inspiring virtual school, where we can continue to learn, to work together and to enjoy each other’s company.
We know that there may be many more challenges ahead. However, as our Year 7s said so movingly last week: ‘King’s High: at home but still together.’