18 June 2020
Under the new Head, Mrs Pippa Smithson, The Royal School has delivered an impressive remote learning programme this term. Both the Prep and Senior School have engaged pupils with live lessons, pre-recorded lessons (which allow pupils to go at their own pace) and a variety of tasks to ensure that pupils progress in their learning, despite not being physically in school.
Commenting on the transition to remote learning, Mrs Pippa Smithson, Head of The Royal School, said:
“Innovation is at the core of The Royal’s history. It was one of the first schools opened to allow girls an education and this sense of forward thinking defines our co-educational school now. In these unprecedented times we have and continue to be agile in our thinking; we have adapted quickly and flexibly to ensure the best education for our pupils, who are thriving through our remote learning programme.
Pupil Remote Learning surveys at the Prep and Senior School showed that over 90% of pupils are positive about their remote learning experience. Particular areas of strength are that pupils are able to understand what their teachers want them to do, follow lesson plans and work packs that are being set, fully access the work teachers are setting through the technology at home and that there are a good variety of learning tasks.
Mrs Kerrie Daunter, Head of the Prep School, commented, “Both children and teachers have adapted brilliantly to learning from home. The continuity of education and the well-being of the children has been at the heart of our provision and a great deal of flexibility has been built in to meet individual needs. Teachers have been creative in their approach, the combination of live online introductions, live small group ‘clinics’, screen-sharing and voice-over presentations has been highly effective. In addition to the academic side of education, there has been just as much attention given to the pastoral provision. The children have enjoyed live morning ‘meet and greets’, online debates about current affairs, story time and science quizzes; at the end of each week, we have joined together for an online assembly, celebrating Stars of the Week, which has helped keep us connected as a community. As successful as remote learning has been, there is nothing quite like teaching and learning in person. We were thrilled to invite our Reception, Year 1, Year 6 and many of our Nursery children back to school on 1 June and being fortunate enough to have plenty of space and outdoor provision next week, we are looking forward to welcoming back the rest of the school on shortened days for the remainder of the summer term.”
Mr James Pulford, Director of Learning at the Senior School, said, “Remote learning has continued to be delivered effectively in the summer term with Years 7-10 and 12 engaging in a full timetable of live stream lessons and Google Classroom assignments. The first week after half term saw internal assessments take place for those year groups in a slimmed down version of the normal offering. These will inform the end of term reports, which all year groups will receive. Meanwhile Year 11 have embarked on an A Level transition programme, which aims to prepare them for the upcoming A Level studies and includes subjects of their choice plus preparation for the EPQ (Extended Project Qualification). We have also been able to continue with a number of activities that have been adapted to take place remotely, such as the Junior Maths Challenge (now taken online) and numerous House challenges.
We have been very encouraged by the level of engagement of pupils during this challenging time and look forward to the planned events for certain groups of pupils to have some face-to-face interaction in the coming weeks, such as the Year 10 Taking Steps to Work event and Year 12 UCAS Day.”
Alongside their academic studies, pastoral care remains at the heart of the school’s approach. Pupils enjoy a bespoke extra-curricular programme whilst at home, dedicated wellbeing support, Daily Challenges set by the PE Department, House competitions, interactive tutor time, and engaging project work that opens their eyes to new topics and interests.
Feedback from families on the measures that have been put in place has been very positive, with parents commenting:
We really appreciate all that you and the rest of the staff are doing to keep students grounded during this difficult time.
I just wanted to say how impressed I am with how the remote learning has been planned and sent. The teachers have been amazing!