Parents of students at The George Eliot School in Nuneaton have praised efforts to keep their learning on track and to bring the school community together during the coronavirus lockdown.
In the week that the school welcomed back Year 10 students to its Raveloe Drive premises, Principal Homeira Zakary outlined how home learning has evolved over the last few months to include live on-line teaching for groups in Years 7-10.
Homeira Zakary said, “From the start, we had a strong team, led by my Vice Principal, Mrs Stanton, providing support from a distance to all students who continue to study at home. We have worked hard to make it easy for pupils and parents to access the learning materials by year group and we have been keeping in touch with everybody through weekly bulletins, emails, and phone calls.
“Assemblies were held to share expectations; materials were provided, and we used our regular school bulletin to ensure that communications were strong and focused on students’ learning. The school has been providing its learning online through Doddle and has enjoyed great success with its Hegarty Maths and Educake Science platforms.
“Since the start of June, after consultation with parents and pupils the school has moved its learning to Microsoft Teams. Learning from research, the school has produced some pre-recorded lessons with quiz responses and follow up tasks. We have also launched live feedback and check-in with students. Teachers have been incredible in adapting to our new approaches and working hard to ensure that we are accessible and supportive to all of our learners.”
The school has also introduced a series of sessions developed through the national school resources programme, PiXL, customised to offer support for its new intake of Year 7 students who are due to start their secondary education in September 2020. Based on a ‘Be Awesome and Go Big’ theme which helps them to learn how to build confidence, self-esteem and resilience, the programme includes presentations, video content and tasks for the students to complete.
Homeira added, “Our form tutors, mentors and pastoral team continue to make regular contact with students at home through phone calls, emails and socially-distanced home visits when needed. I am delighted to hear from parents that they pleased with our support with many telling us what a difference it has made to their children’s experiences during this challenging time. We always appreciate receiving feedback from parents, pupils and staff to help us to continue to grow.”
Dave Northall, Chair of The George Eliot Parents’ Voice said, “Many parents have expressed to me their appreciation for the massive effort made by the school.
“Parents have felt listened to and supported by the school and I have seen the evolution of its approach to remote learning over the last few months, applying an agile level of support to all students. The school has clearly been listening to feedback received and has acted swiftly to improve the use of technology. I have been really impressed with the way staff have reached out to students and parents alike.”
Mrs Wilkins, the mother of a child in Year 7, said, “I think the new style of lessons are brilliant. It is so much better to hear you teaching and explaining things.”
Miss Clarke, also the mother of a child in Year 7, said, “I just want to say a huge thank you to the school for all you are doing for our children. My daughter has settled into a routine and gets regular feedback from her teachers. The new teacher-led lessons are easy to follow and a good mix with the online learning. Thank you for all you are doing”.
Miss Lowe, who has children in Years 9 and 10, said, “I wanted to say thanks to all of Ethan's teachers who are encouraging him to work in this new way. He and his sister Freya have been working really hard at home and I am proud at how motivated they have been. There has been plenty of work to keep them going and teachers have been very quick to respond and provide feedback.”
Homeira Zakary added, “Throughout our planning, we have been mindful of the fact that pastoral support is just as important as academic achievement and so we have developed some new resources to help promote the wellbeing of our students and to welcome those who will be joining us for the first time next year.”
Simon Lomax, Executive Principal of the Midland Academies Trust said, “I am delighted to hear that the provision at The George Eliot School is helping students to cope with the lockdown and make positive progress with their studies.
“Our entire school community has fully embraced this new way of working and adapted with enthusiasm. I am grateful to all the staff across the Midland Academies Trust for their hard work and dedication which is really making a difference to students and their families.”