Remote Schooling – Our Continued Approach to Academic Excellence
Windrush Valley Private School Oxfordshire has an outstanding track record of academic excellence. This was corroborated most recently with the school being listed, for the fourth year running, in The Sunday Times Best 100 schools league table. The school is now ranked 21st best school in England. A ranking that makes it the best private school or state school in Oxfordshire.
We’re confident that despite a second national lockdown and a switch to remote schooling, that we can maintain the high standards of learning we’ve set. Our approach to remote schooling has already proved very effective. So much so that despite COVID-19 restrictions and the fact that some of our pupils were isolating at home, all pupils that entered the most recent English Speaking Board (ESB) examinations achieved either merit+ or distinction grades.
Remote schooling – our emphasis on Live lessons
Our small class sizes, a fundamental tenet of the school, means that all pupils from Reception to Year 6 have daily contact in the form of live lessons with their class teachers. This time allows for direct teaching, checking pupil engagement with set tasks, and providing feedback on completed work. Class work is either pupil marked and scores sent to teachers or submitted online for marking and review by the class teacher.
We are following our usual curricula with daily lessons being delivered by class teachers who provide clear explanations of lesson content. In addition, where applicable, lessons are enhanced with external online resources provided as a link via Google Classroom. Instructions for tasks and activities are also posted onto Google Classroom that the children can refer to around the live lessons.
The daily, live taught sessions provide opportunities for interaction between pupils and class teachers that includes questioning and discussion. The time allocated for independent work to complete set tasks gives the pupils the opportunity to apply new knowledge. The typed chat function of Google Classroom enables to pupils to ask for help, to receive timely feedback and the regular submission of work means they receive frequent feedback on their progress.
Easing the burden on parents
We fully appreciate that our younger children in Key Stage 1 and Reception classes will need higher levels of parental involvement to support their online learning, which is a huge task for parents working full-time from home. To help ease the burden, we send work packs of resources home and for the Reception class, keep online meetings short at the beginning and end of the mornings to explain and review phonics, literacy and maths tasks. Topic- based craft activities are provided for the afternoon for families to access as suits their daily routine. Key Stage 1 will have online registration and 2 further online lessons around their maths and English lessons and a final catch up just before lunch to review the morning’s work and discuss the afternoons’ tasks.
Lower Key Stage 2 (Year 3 and Year 4) are online between 09:00 and 11:00 every morning for English and Maths lessons. The third lesson is an independent activity with a final morning catch up to explain the afternoon tasks. Each afternoon has a set activity for the children to engage with and the following morning registration time will be to discuss what the children have done.
Upper Key Stage 2 (Year 5 and Year 6) have shorter but more frequent online taught sessions with the expectation that they can work independently for longer periods of time and retain instructions for future tasks. As more independent learners, they will contact their teachers directly for further, individualized explanations as they are required. More of their work will be completed and submitted online as their IT skills are more developed. One benefit to our older pupils that has come from lockdown is that it has encouraged independent learning and the need to access technology that allows them to contact their teachers which are skills they will require in secondary school.
Music lessons have also moved online with brass, piano and recorder lessons done via Skype. Sports activities are available via video from our sports coaches, although links to Cosmic Kids yoga and dance activities have also proved popular. Some of our pupils have started running or cycling with their parents to replace the PE lessons in school and walking the dog remains a firm favourite, especially in Key Stage 1 as they now play Nature bingo while out walking.
The children enjoy the online interaction with their friends and their teachers but to supplement their social interaction with other children across the school the week begins and ends with a whole school assembly lead by the Headteacher. The Monday morning assembly follows our usual theme of school values and the Friday afternoon assembly, focuses on pupil achievement, celebrating the week’s Dragon Masters, birthdays and then a fun activity such as a quiz, bingo or a scavenger hunt.
Windrush Valley Private School Oxfordshire – excellence starts here.