At Buxlow Preparatory School and Nursery we are very proud of the way we have managed to maintain our very high academic standards during lockdown.
Whereas other schools emailed lesson packs to be taught at home, we concentrated on using Zoom video calls each day so children were taught live at home by their class teacher. This allowed us to continue delivering our usual timetable including Mathematics, English, Science, History, Geography, RE and Art, as well as our subject specialists delivering Computer Sciences, Music, LAMDA and French. All pupils from Reception to Year 6 had access to our online learning platform (Showbie) and this allowed them to access work at any point, even when they had missed a live lesson. We ensured that this was all in place before lockdown to help our children best adapt to the change in circumstances.
Having live lessons, where teachers were available throughout the school day, meant that our children could access their work and ask for help independently from their parents, allowing their parents to continue with their work and offering little disruption to their busy schedules. We were keenly aware that some pupils will always have barriers to access education, and these could be heightened through the use of technology. Where possible we arranged for break out groups and Teaching Assistants and our SENDCo to work with children who may have struggled to access education.
As important as maintaining the children’s academic progress was, we were very aware of the need to support their wellbeing through these new situations. Offering a full timetable and regular contact with their class peers and teachers helped with this, but we also felt we needed to go further. As such, we operated Wellbeing sessions for pupils who had concerns and they were still able to do this privately. Regular wellbeing phone calls were made to parents to check on not only our pupils, but the whole family. This helped to build our community to a strength that would not have been possible without all parties working so closely together.
As a whole school community, we still continued to come together during weekly assemblies that allowed us to support each other and celebrate our successes and perseverance over a challenging period. For parents who are key workers and pupils who received support via support plans, we ensured that we provided the support to ensure that parents could continue their vital work and the pupils could learn in an appropriate environment. The school has been open to key worker children every working day since the Prime Minister announced the first lockdown.
If we are unfortunate enough to face another lockdown, or where we must revert to teaching and learning online, we at Buxlow feel confident that we could continue to provide an excellent education for our children. We have learnt from our previous experiences and have used this to inform and improve what we offer to all our children during such circumstances. These circumstances have shown us as a school community, how determined, responsible, kind and respectful our children are. Demonstrating that our children fulfil our values not just inside school but in their wider life.