Blog 15 – w/c 04/01/21
Happy New Year
Let’s start on a positive note by wishing everyone a Happy New Year. Despite the very challenging times we are living through, we hope that everyone managed to enjoy Christmas and were able to celebrate with loved ones.
The Impact of Covid 19 on the return to school
No, it was absolutely not what we wanted was it?
On Monday 4th January, all staff were in school preparing for the return of our students and the start of the spring term. All staff were tested for Covid 19, in line with government expectations, and we were working on the practicalities and potential problems we would encounter for the ‘lateral flow’ testing of all students as they returned to school. We were well aware that the new variant of the virus was spreading rapidly, especially in the south of the country, and we strongly suspected that schools might have to close again in the next few weeks. However, we weren’t expecting it to come quite so quickly. As a result, we had to shelve all of the arrangements for testing and focus on the delivery of remote learning, whilst also ensuring that the children of key workers who would be accessing school on site were catered for.
As always, the academic, pastoral and physical well-being of our students drives everything we do at Blacon High School and we will endeavour to continue to deliver the best quality education that we can, in very challenging circumstances, to those in school and, remotely, to those at home.
We know that this isn’t ‘ideal’ and, of course, we would much rather have our students sitting in front of us; it is better for them academically and socially. However, until this is possible again, or allowed, we will deliver lessons via Google Classroom as we have before. Additionally, we acknowledge that learning is enhanced by the real interaction between students and teachers so our aim is to offer a significantly greater proportion of the learning on Google Classroom as ‘live’ lessons. Students know the class codes for all of their lessons, and these are also available under the ‘Home Learning’ tab on the website.
We need your help
As I’ve said, remote learning isn’t ideal by any means, but we need to make it work. It can and does work when all students access their lessons. Congratulations and well done to all those students who have attended lessons, completed work and followed their timetables this week. Unfortunately, not everyone is doing this yet and I cannot stress how important it is that students access learning, even when they are not on the school premises. Please support us by ensuring that your child is up, is ready to learn, is online and is ready to complete their work in the same way as if it was a normal school day. Thanks.
Advice and support
Did you know that it is possible to access Google Classroom from a range of devices? Some of them might come as surprise to you. I’m sure you are already aware that you can use a computer, a laptop, a tablet and a smart phone. However, if a pupil doesn't have any of these devices but they have a games console (such as a PlayStation or Xbox), they can still access Google Classroom. The quality isn't as great as a laptop, PC or tablet, and they might struggle to hand in or submit work but they can still access the work set and work on paper.
Of course, we will also generate a quantity of paper packs for anyone who is unable to access Google Classroom at all.
Some families are struggling to complete all of the work on Google Classroom as they have internet contracts with caps on the amount of data they can use; this is especially the case if students are using smartphones. The government is trying to resolve this issue as well.
The Department for Education (DfE) has said it has agreed with mobile network operators that they should provide free data to disadvantaged families to support their children in remote learning.
Please follow the link for further advice:
Our commitment to you
Our commitment to delivering the best possible education to the young people in the community of Blacon and beyond has not changed. Given the current circumstances, in the coming weeks it is inevitable that a number of issues will arise, not least with remote learning, but please be assured that we will endeavour to resolve whatever problems we are all faced with as promptly as possible. Of course, as the vaccine is rolled out, we can expect to see restrictions relax and we look forward to re-opening our doors fully and welcoming our students back into the building.