Learning in Lockdown
When all schools closed on Friday 20 March, QEH was ready to provide a comprehensive programme of online learning and co-curricular activities. Pupils and their families were sent detailed information on how to access online lessons and to submit work for marking.
It was a steep learning curve for both staff and pupils but, demonstrating typical QEH resilience, they soon got to grips with this new reality. Pupils were expected to follow their usual timetable, to login in at 8.35 and to have all work completed by 4.00pm. A blend of live lessons, set tasks and project work across the curriculum was made available via Microsoft Teams, and key workers’ children followed the same schedule in school. We decided not to set homework, as pupils were already working hard in these challenging circumstances and a healthy school/life balance was even more important than usual.
Students in Years 11 and 13, whose external exams were cancelled, were given a series of short courses, offering an opportunity to delve deeper into the subjects they would be studying in Sixth Form or at university.
There was a weekly whole school assembly every Monday, broadcast live on YouTube, led by Mr Heathcote, with additional video messages from members of the school community. Form tutors kept in touch with their tutees with regular tutor periods and Heads of Year checked in with pupils too. QEH deservedly has an excellent reputation for pastoral care and we have been totally committed to supporting our pupils’ wellbeing during this unsettling time.
The co-curricular life of the school continued too. The Enrichment programme took to Instagram to share the many and varied activities of the QEH community during lockdown – there were creative makes, delicious bakes and whole series of Italian lifestyle videos from Dr Dutton! The PE department made a wide range of coaching videos for a variety of sports to help keep us all fit and healthy and improve our skills, while the Music and Drama departments gave us some inspirational performances. House competitions continued too with a new addition – the Getty Challenge. Pupils were asked to recreate a favourite/famous work of art using everyday objects from around their house or garden and whole families joined in, although only pupils’ entries earned points for their House.
We were unable to hold our usual Sports Day at Failand and so we encouraged everyone to take part in Family Sports Day in their back gardens instead. Pupils and their families joined in with gusto, showing QEH spirit, as they jumped, bounced, ran and threw socks into laundry baskets!
Following government guidance, we were able to have Years 10 and 12 back into school in June for some valuable academic catch up and pastoral time. We were also able to invite our other year groups to enjoy a socially distanced morning or afternoon of activities at Failand before the end of the summer term. It was lovely to see them all again and we are looking forward to welcoming all pupils back to school in September.
Our online learning and co-curricular programmes remain ready to swing into action again in the event of another lockdown.
To find out what the Junior school got up to in lockdown, please click here.