Having had a week off from the usual blog writing in order to concentrate on the ever-changing position with school closures, I thought I would return this week to reflect on the last seven or so days and give my dad something to moan about other than the current global pandemic! We need to try and have as much normality in our lives as we can and to get my usual phone call on a Friday night, telling me that my reflections on the week were longer than ‘War and Peace’ will certainly do just that.
I would like to thank all of you for your support during these unprecedented times. The two weeks prior to the school closures felt calm and the pupils went about their business with maturity and order. As we moved into lockdown, the Whitehill staff have all asked to be placed on the rota to support the pupils of key workers and I have managed to sort it so that staff teams do a block and then get sufficient time themselves to stay away and rest. Whilst we remain fit and healthy and whilst there is a need for pupils to be in school so their parents can carry out their valuable roles, we will try our best to keep the school running. I have referred to #teamwhitehill on a number of occasions in the Covid-19 blog posts and it certainly deserves a massive shout out again.
Pupils embarked upon this period of home-learning with a collection of resources form their class teachers. All pupils took home a novel and I know teachers have been setting work related to them. Pupils also had various packs to dip into from time to time in subjects such as maths, reading, and SPaG. Whilst not a member of the different learning environments, I have been keeping an eye on the posts which have been going backwards and forwards. Well done for using them appropriately.
That being said, I posted something on my personal twitter feed on Wednesday about the need for teachers, parents and pupils all to take a moment to pause; evaluate the situation we find ourselves in and just be kind. There is simply no way education can continue over the coming weeks and months in the way it would if pupils were all at school. ‘Home learning’ opportunities extend far beyond the maths packs and reading comprehension questions. We need to embrace the time we find ourselves with and be creative. We need to appreciate some of the things around the home and in the garden that we have perhaps started to take for granted. Most importantly for children, they need to realise that being bored is OK. Perhaps we need not to talk about boredom but refer to these times as moments to rest; to be mindful or to enjoy one’s own company.
As a school, we recognise the fact that all 240 pupils will have different opportunities at home. There will be inconsistencies in the work pupils do. We will not be able to assume ‘progress’ (in the true educational sense) will have been made by many or any. They will, however, have had some amazing experiences which we can share and learn from. When all of this calms down and we return to a new normal, it will be then that we re-evaluate the educational system and see what we need to do. Where do we start from? What will the learning opportunities look like? Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, there is the possibility to redefine primary education in England (if not education as a whole) and we should certainly embrace this opportunity.
I genuinely hope there is no stress at home with regards home-learning. I have seen some amazing posts on twitter and I am trying to engage with them all. There is such creativity being highlighted as well as the learning of some key life skills such as making scrambled egg and a cup of tea. Pupils have been painting fences and practising their music. Please do keep sharing with us what you are getting up to. More than ever we need to maintain the sense of community and engage in (digital) conversations.
I would normally refer to our Achievers’ Assembly in this blog. My plan was to deliver a virtual assembly today with bits and pieces sent in but time ran away with me and the technology was not doing exactly what I wanted. That being said, I did plan the assembly in my head and so I will pretend it happened! Humour me, please.
Music this week has been provided by Eoin (Year 5) on the drums; Eoin (Year 3) on his clarinet; Jasmine (Year 4) on the keyboard and Freddie (Year 4) on the piano. You will have seen their performances on our twitter feed. On the sporting front, we have seen gymnastics with Freya (Year 6) and several attempts at sporting challenges set by our Sports Partnership team. Many of you have also been joining in with the Joe Wicks’ (killer) workout each morning and looked far fitter than the staff team here in school. Other things worth celebrating this week include Freddy (Year 5) who, despite his best efforts, has managed not to injure himself whilst trying to recreate the death-defying stunts of Evil Kenevil! Go Freddy!
In terms of awarding the Class of the Week trophy, there have been many contenders. The #ClarkeAcademyForBoys has been very proactive in its provision. Nicolas (Year 6) has been showing his green finger talents all week. Leo (Year 5) has been engaged in many different activities showing us his creative side. Monty (Year 5) has been promoting himself as the ‘chicken whisperer’ and is now ready to take over from the Happy Egg Company and Sophia (Year 3) has been keeping my brain active with her quiz question of the day.
I am going to award the trophy to the Charmantier Family, however, for a whole host of different skills on display but particularly the Henry VIII stop-motion video sent in this morning. If you haven’t seen it yet, find it on our twitter feed. It’s brilliant. Well done, Niamh and Eoin. Here is your trophy…
… I wonder who will be awarded it next week.
I did ask for your mini-blogs or comments to be sent in for me to include. (280 characters of less of course) I think this one form Izzy’s mum (Year 6) is worth posting today:
Home learning week 1 has mainly resulted in improving my understanding of fractions, care of increasingly exasperated explanations by Izzy. I’m now considering entering myself for a retake of my maths GCSE. #wrongwayround
So as the end of week one comes to an end, I would like to thank Mrs Bailey, Miss Creese, Mr Denney and Mrs Keeling for forming ‘Team A’ and doing the first shift. They go off now for a rest and a period of quarantine and will no doubt make an appearance in a couple of weeks’ time.
Have a wonderful weekend. Stay at home and stay safe!