It goes without saying that we would have loved to welcome you back in-person and on-site but, with the advent of Covid-19, the welcome we are providing is a new way of learning and not one that any of us anticipated. The most important thing we can do is to remain optimistic and remember that no matter where we are geographically, we are still connected and still part of a vibrant school community committed to our values of Care, Courtesy and Consideration.
In today’s blog I have outlined the plans St Michael’s has in place to ensure all of our pupils are able to continue with their education and remain connected to both their peers and teachers.
Nursery and Reception (EYFS)
Work will be published on Tapestry by 8pm the night before to allow parents to print resources they feel they may need for the following day. The expectation is that all children should try some if not all the activities available to them. With this in mind, I understand that every child and their family’s situation is different so please do what works best for you in your situation
We will provide pre-recorded teaching sessions to support the children’s learning. These will include a range of videos uploaded weekly:
- Phonics and Maths inputs
- Number and letter formation videos (Reception only)
- Story time with our TAs and other members of staff
- Further topic-based videos and those covering areas of the curriculum such as EAD
For our reception classes there will be an online check in to register the children every morning. Our pupils will also have opportunities to speak with the staff and a small group of their friends on Friday afternoons and Monday mornings. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays we will be telling stories where there will be further opportunities for the children to speak to each other before or after the session.
Nursery will also have an online check in each morning where children can sing days of the week and see the other children. A check in, check up and check out format will be used on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday in smaller groups to talk to the children about the work they are doing and let them chat to each other. You will be assigned these groups before the start of term. (This is of course optional and dependent on your child and if they would benefit from this.). Our nursery pupils will also have a one to one meeting with the teacher on a weekly basis to check their progress.
Year 1 and Year 2 (Pre-Prep)
Work will be published on Seesaw by 20.00 the night before so that you may print resources for the following day if you wish and will follow timetabled lessons as far as possible. The expectation is that all children will complete all work set on the core subjects.
Science and Humanities activities may follow a more independent research or experiment/investigation approach. Evidence of the work completed can be photographed and uploaded to the children’s Class Seesaw account, via the app, with the option for the children to annotate their work in video/voice recording.
The teachers and teaching assistants will also be able to give feedback through the journal. Most lessons will have pre-recorded verbal, or video instructions, as well as being available in written form and tasks will be recorded in a variety of different ways (photographs, videos, use of templates, pdfs etc).
There will be a daily check in everyday to give pupils the opportunity to see their friends. At lunchtime and the end of each day the children will have the opportunity to share a storytime read by Pre-Prep staff. Mr Rees will be taking a Pre-Prep Assembly on a Friday and also reading a story during the week.
Year 3 and 4 (Juniors)
Work will be delivered (by 19:30 the previous evening) to Seesaw on a daily basis. The work delivery will follow a distance learning timetable, given to parents via Seesaw. The expectation is that all children will complete all work set on the core subjects. Maths and English work is to be completed on the day that it is set and all work should be added to the activity that is set.
As with our Prep-Prep department, all Lessons will have pre-recorded verbal and written instructions, and tasks will be recorded in a variety of different ways. Suggested PE / Games sessions will be delivered on the day of their normal sessions. There shouldn’t be a need to print anything but parents are free to do so if they think it may help.
Other live sessions may include book readings, mastermind quizzes on the curriculum covered so far, listening to children reading, support sessions and a weekly mentor meeting with groups of children. There will also be a check out message from the teacher, sharing highlights from the day.
Year 5 to Shell Year (Seniors)
There will be a Form Period at the beginning of every day and attending is obligatory through the interactive platform ‘Google Meet’. Live Streamed and recorded lessons via the Google platforms will form the basis of how we teach your children.
To ensure variety and the interactive nature of lessons required, as a minimum, at least one lesson per week per subject will be conducted through Google Meet. However, there is good evidence to show that trying to deliver effective online learning entirely through streamed lessons is challenging for teachers and pupils alike.
The expectation is that all children will complete all work set for them. Teachers will respond to all work received through the platform. Work will be delivered to the classroom on a daily basis according to the current timetable. All teachers can be contacted by email by parents and pupils can content their teachers using the comments function or individually in a live session.
We strongly encourage our pupils to stick to the timetable, as it provides them with a daily routine and allows them to stay connected with their Form and subject teachers. Having a copy of the timetable visible such us up on the fridge, can help children stick to a routine. We are aware however that there will be times when this is not possible, and priorities need to be elsewhere. Please let the appropriate member of staff know on these occasions.
Individual Music Lessons and Pastoral Care
Individual music lessons will continue and children’s instrumental/singing teacher will be contacting them to arrange a suitable time to continue. It’s important that these lessons continue for our pupil’s musical development. It also helps to keep a sense of normality as you keep to a regular routine.
Form Teachers do play a fundamental role in the life of a pupil at St. Michael’s and this role becomes even more important when pupils are working remotely. The Form Teacher, alongside the Assistant Head Pastoral and Assistant Head Academic, continue to be responsible for monitoring the pupil’s academic commitment, attitude to learning and engagement with the virtual learning environment.
School assemblies will continue as scheduled. Access to these live streamed sessions will happen remotely through ‘Google Meet’. The access link will be posted across the various platforms and via email to parents who are warmly invited to attend.
This is a new way of teaching and learning for all of us; please get involved, provide feedback and take advantage of what we can offer for you as pupils and parents. Communication is key for staying connected.
We will all do well in remembering this recent quote from one of our contemporary heroes:
“The sun will shine on us again soon and the clouds will go away!”
– Captain Tom Moore