St Albans academies make the best of having minimal staff and students
- Credit: Archant
What have the children of our key workers been up to as many of their school friends are taught at home?
Three schools managed by Alban Academies Trust have been responding to the new challenges coronavirus has brought with outdoor activities as well as work set virtually to the wider school communities.
Ridgeway, Sandringham and Verulam opened their doors to children of key workers on March 23, after saying a premature goodbye to the majority of students the previous Friday.
Verulam has been embracing a creative approach to educating, as it runs with a small number of staff and students.
Students have been doing their academic work set remotely by teachers, as well as taking part in more unusual activities.
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Last week’s highlights included learning to pitch tents and cook outside, wood chopping and lawn mowing.
They also held a mini-Olympics competition of basketball, penalty shoot outs, badminton and table tennis to give the boys important physical activity.
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As different staff attend each week the school is taking advantage of their special interests and skills.
At Ridgeway over 140 students receive free school meals and, during the first week of the shutdown, students were offered the option of collecting these from school or, for those who were self-isolating, a delivery service was run with staff taking meals to the students’ homes.
As the importance of staying at home grew, Ridgeway staff contacted all families of students who receive free school meals and arranged to deposit the funding for this directly into their bank accounts, extending this to cover the Easter holidays too.
In anticipation of closure, staff at Sandringham set about switching from physical to virtual delivery of the curriculum through a number of training sessions and the school now delivers all lessons online. Students follow their normal timetable from home.
Around a quarter of all lessons now are delivered ‘live’ and the staff are constantly reviewing and improving delivery to make it as powerful as possible.
The school has also been open to key worker and vulnerable children who need to be in school, and supported those children with particular needs through regular contacts home.
The school expects to do things differently this year and make the most of the virtual world we currently live in.