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A survey found that 98% of Eaton House Schools’ parents were extremely happy with the school communication and remote learning strategy during Lockdown. The school believes that this is down to the combination of a swiftly implemented Remote Learning Platform, mirroring the school day as much as possible, side by side with the creation of a Wellbeing Hub which was full of practical, positive and creative resources for families, designed to help them to cope with the new digital landscape.
In addition, the appointment of a new Head of Wellbeing, Ms Paula Kearney, in March 2020, prior to COVID-19, was part of a shift in the schools’ thinking, led by CEO Luchie Cawood, who wanted the gold standard academic results of Eaton House Schools’ children to be matched by an even better than usual gold standard wellbeing provision. The timing proved incredibly fortuitous.
Eaton House Schools knew that it was imperative that a full scale Remote Learning System had to be up as quickly as possible, as it was important for academic learning to be kept up by its pupils. However, just as important was the wellbeing of entire families. This meant that the Remote Learning Platform for online study and the Wellbeing Hub for emotional and psychological resources had to run in sync. As a good example of this, a Wellbeing Hub article on the tips and tricks for encouraging children to be calm and focused during home study proved to be very practical and useful when it came to the work set via the Platform.
Eaton House tested Zoom and Seesaw and other programmes before launch, allowing them to iron out the wrinkles quickly. This meant that they were prepared to offer a full live remote teaching to an almost complete timetable from 8.45am once the school closed in March.
Classroom teaching materials were uploaded at 8.30am each day, and the teachers taught whole classes via Seesaw, for the younger ones, and Zoom, for the older ones. This meant that whole classes could see each other and communicate, and it gave the whole community a great sense of inclusivity, as well as being psychologically relaxing for the pupils.
The adaptation rate was relatively smooth – and the school managed to do some incredible things digitally. During Lockdown, Eaton House The Manor Girls’ School had Zoom concerts in Form 5 and 6, made beautiful musical instruments out of recycled materials, learned to play the recorder and the violin and learned about different composers and their music. Form 4 even began writing their own operas! The school also played lots of singing games, and got the whole family joining in.
A Manor Prep boy created this triumphant DT project spelling out the name of his school in lights!
The summer term started in extraordinary circumstances but that did nothing to dampen the spirits of the Manor Pre-Prep boys and their families, as school sport went online. Mr Sam and Mr Marcus used Seesaw to provide fun and engaging lessons for all year groups to develop a broad array of skills. Remote lessons included cricket skills, tennis activities and athletic ‘challenges’ for the boys to complete and respond to.
For PE lessons, Zoom was the answer. Each class had their own live Zoom lessons throughout the term, and the boys kept energetic and active by seeing familiar faces and getting involved in fun exercises. The use of online platforms broadened towards the end of the term, and the Pre-Prep Sport’s YouTube channel was created! A catalogue of lessons, ideas, challenges and warm-ups were uploaded weekly, all designed to encourage increased sporting participation at home.
If the Remote Learning Platform was set up quickly, parents also benefit from the calming pastoral presence of Ms Paula Kearney, who is qualified to provide an expert form of support and pastoral care for all of the pupils, having previously worked at a number of prestigious schools, including Harrow School, where she was Co-Ordinator of Health Education.
Her duty of care transcends the current situation and takes the form of a confidential ‘listening ear’ for a parent confronting child behavioural challenges, family changes or exam stress, or it can take the form of practical guidance if parents are facing a specific local difficulty, such as illness. This emphasis on the wellbeing of whole families has provided a necessary ‘release valve’ for many parents and they are enjoying the freedom to talk openly in a non-judgmental space.
A Manor Prep Key Worker boy, using the Remote Learning Platform
Sharing resources and knowledge has been, and continues to be, incredibly important to Eaton House and the group is happy to share their new ebook, ‘Adapting to the New Normal’, with Nappy Valley readers.
Written by Paula Kearney, the ebook aims to help parents to navigate through the summer holidays and prepare children for any eventuality next term.
The book can be viewed at: https://bit.ly/EHTMebook1NV
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