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Tackling the Challenges Ahead

We are back! We did it!

So where do we go from here?

 

Lent Term 2020 (2nd half) saw us being creative in designing and building our remote learning platform. It was energy sapping but provoked an amazing reaction from the staff team. All of us up-skilled and rose to the challenge.  We have received some very big nods of approval about our online provision from our community.  Our clever staff team, quick learning children and a supportive parent body has led us down a successful (on the whole) path. 

Trinity Term 2020 was all about moving back onto site. Timetable and learning frameworks had to be redesigned, in line with Government guidance, in an ever changing landscape. Mr Shute’s ability to know what we required from an IT infrastructure perspective was astounding; we would NOT have coped without him. We were exercising the children rigorously, keeping them physically healthy. We were ensuring the kids were happy and understood what was going on. We used projects, crafts, video, mindfulness, wellbeing and fresh air. Online work predominantly continued for many of the older pupils; home learning pupils joined their virtual classroom whilst their peers were on school site. Unbelievably, the teachers’ feedback indicates that all curriculum content had been delivered in one way or another last year. That in itself is impressive.  Learning behaviours were re-established quickly and good hygiene habits embedded. It was a gorgeous, but emotional, end to an academic year.

Michaelmas Term 2020: a new chapter

September brings us a different challenge. 

We are impatient to get back to ‘normal’, and yet we would be foolish to even consider doing so. We want to wave the match buses off EVERY Wednesday and Thursday afternoon, but we would be breaking government guidance. We want our Upper School pupils to be roaring out songs in Senior Choir, and yet no singing in large groups. We want to run the kids along the Devon beaches, go on residentials, take them on trips and visits and experiences; but, all of this will have to wait just a little bit longer. We want to invite parents in to share in their children’s learning, to meet and greet visitors onsite; but, all of this just raises the risk to everyone in our community and therefore we refrain and stay communicating online or from car windows! We want to see House competitions return with fever.  Our famous charity days, where all pupils of all ages, from Nursery to Year 8, get to spend time together, raising money in a fun way for great causes. We miss it all. The whole ‘community’ aspect. 

We are as deeply frustrated as many of you on our restrictions. We understand. 

And yet here we are … it is the week that we all were reminded by the Government that Covid-19 restrictions are still in place for a reason. 

Here we stay. 

A bit restricted, yes, BUT still keeping safe, working hard, learning lots and trying to take every opportunity offered. We remain cautious so that we may someday be reintroduced to our ‘normal’ calendar, fixtures list and special face to face community events. 

It will come. 

I know it will. 

So for now …. I want to share with you what we ARE doing. I want to share our key messages and guidelines for Teaching and Learning which we, as a whole staff teaching team are following as we return to our new school year. 

  • Everyone hit the road running. Do not delay! 
  • Back to basics: reading / guided reading / writing / spelling / punctuation / grammar / Maths skills / place value / times tables / handwriting / poetry / memorisation / pencil grip / big writing / journals / dictionaries / thesaurus / alphabetical order / creative writing / skills check. 
  • Curiosity, finding, presenting opportunities. Live ‘in the moment’ during the lesson. 
  • Marking – it is expected that we mark the pupils books according to normal school policy. Prep will begin in Week 2 for Years 1 – 8. 
  • All books and pupils belongings to be stored in pupils trays.  Pupils have access to all exercise books in case they have to go home at short notice. Work set if having to be home on Google Classroom once set up. No changing room or lockers. 
  • GL assessments sat very early in the term so we may use the data to analyse for progress, achievement and developments. Normal targeted learning approach. 
  • Long piece of progress writing early in the term during English lessons.
  • Learning behaviour expectations to be covered early.
  • Site safety walk and run through daily logistics and routines. 
  • Health and Safety Classroom checks to be completed by tutor groups with children involved. 
  • Not all work to be on screens, with a focus back on books and set them up during the first part of term.
  • In a few weeks, reset the pupils Google classrooms in new Year groups. 
  • Bacc Target setting
  • Understand and implement the COVID practises and settle back to St. Peter’s.
  • Personalised reading targets based on the bacc grid.

That is what we will be busying ourselves with over the next weeks and months. 

Stay in contact with the tutors, teachers and support staff and we will keep you informed with any hurdles we run into on our journey. 

As some feedback from the school to home: your children are representing you and your family very well indeed. An energetic and positive start to term. I love watching new friendships blossom all over the school site. At the moment, we can report that everything is rosy at St Peter’s Preparatory School. It really has been a remarkable start to term. The nurture shown towards the pupils and amongst the pupils has been heart melting.  I am, in equal measure, not surprised and incredibly relieved! 

*** BE WARNED … The children are about to hit a tiredness wall – look out for it.  The stamina is not there yet; it is not pretty, but the energy slump will pass again soon and all will be well again. Normally, this is a trend around the end of Week 3 and into Week 4.