The lockdowns of 2020 and 2021 meant that in common with schools throughout the UK, Saint Christina’s was forced to close its doors to everyone except the children of key workers, and our teaching went online.
During the lockdowns, the School was uncharacteristically quiet without all the children and their teachers, but class groups came together daily for registration, conversations and prayers and we came together as a School for virtual assemblies. Ensuring this sense of belonging was essential for the mental health and well-being of all members of our School community.
We did not adopt the same approach to remote learning for all classes. We tailored our provision to the capabilities and concentration levels of the different year groups. We also paid careful consideration to the pressures parents were facing as they juggled working from home and supporting their children’s online education.
As a future-facing School, we were ready to adapt swiftly and effectively to online learning via Google classroom, making use of Google’s extensive provision to facilitate the children’s online learning.
We are grateful to our wonderful Saint Christina's Parents and Carers for their support and enthusiasm during this time, and we're so pleased to have everyone back in school again.
Our Early Years provision
In Nursery and Reception, parents were given a detailed timetable which they could choose to follow over the course of the week. These timetables were structured so that parents could tune in to the sessions they wanted and included plenty of breaks.
For both Nursery and Reception, the online day started with a live session and was followed by Maths and Phonics sessions, as well as specialist sessions in PE, Computing, Music, Forest School and Liturgy.
After lunch, children had the opportunity to participate in small group discussion in which they could interact, play and showcase their work as well as discuss the topic of the week.
Throughout the day, children had the option to take part in a ‘choosing’ activity. These activities had been carefully curated by the class teachers and were sent to parents at the beginning of the week.
To finish the day, the children were welcomed into a storytelling session with their class teacher and friends.
Key Stage 1 provision
The School day began at 9am with the children enjoying their phonics lesson, followed by their Literacy input for the day. This work was carefully curated, providing differentiation and challenge as well as high levels of engagement. The teacher was online throughout the session, with a teaching assistant available to take children out for small group work.
After a break, children came back into the classroom for their daily live Maths session. The children were supported and challenged throughout through differentiated activities and targeted questioning.
After lunch the children worked on a set piece located in their Google Classroom. This was either Humanities, PE, RE, Spanish, Art and Computing depending on the day and was accompanied by a recorded video explanation. The children also benefitted from a live Music, PSHE and Science lesson each week.
At the end of each day, children were welcomed back to a live session.
Each evening, parents received a link via email to the Google Classroom containing the daily activities for each lesson the following day. All of the activities were adaptable for those who did not have printers. In addition, parents were informed of any resources that may be helpful for the following day and these were items found around the home. The teachers also sent activities, links and further educational resources to support learning at home.
Once their child’s work was complete, parents had the option of ‘turning in’ these activities for teacher review via Google Classroom. Work was marked on a timely basis and returned it with constructive comments.
Key Stage 2 provision
The School day began at 8.55am when teachers welcomed the class in a live session.
The first lesson of the day was English, closely following what would be taught in School.
After a break, the pupils enjoyed a live Maths lesson. The class would usually split into two smaller groups, one lead by the class teacher and one lead by the TA.
The children normally completed their Maths work in a workbook/on paper and uploaded a photo of it at the end of the lesson onto the Google Classroom. This allowed them to be able to do their working out more easily than using a Google Doc.
Afternoon live lessons took place each afternoon consisting of RE, Music, Science, PSHE for all of KS2 and Reasoning as an addition for Year 5.
After the live lesson the children had access to pre-recorded lessons, materials and work to complete for other subjects including Art, DT, History, Geography, Spanish and PE.
At 3.15pm each day the class were welcomed back in a live session to catch up and reflect on the day.
Years 5 and 6 also did their Current Affairs sessions once a week which entailed three pupils each Friday presenting a news story of their choice to the class. The pupils further developed their technological skills during this time and enjoyed sharing their screen to present.
“The children were so engaged during the live lessons and always attended them all with great punctuality. It was lovely to see the different tasks that were carried out…for example Year 3 made a Gratitude Jar each in PSHE to celebrate all the wonderful things in our lives and to improve our wellbeing. The children thought of all the things they were grateful for and wrote each one on a slip. The idea was that if ever you feel sad, you can pick slips out to make you feel better!” (KS2 Teacher)
We are very proud of the way all our exceptional staff adapted to the situation and the way in which our pupils and their parents responded. Apart from the loss of in-person interaction between pupils and teachers, there is nothing to suggest that there was a noticeable drop in the standard or quality of education received via remote learning, which is an outstanding achievement by Saint Christina’s staff and pupils.
“In the Spring, when, as a medic I wasn't able to be present in her life because of the pandemic, I had total confidence and trust in the care and guidance the school gave her. I know this takes enormous effort, generosity and skill from the team.” (Year 6 Parent)