Ahead of the final week of the spring term, South Hampstead got ready to shift into guided home learning mode.
As the realities of the pandemic unfolded, teachers were busy preparing for the move to teaching and learning beyond the classroom. The final week in school was spent making the most of time together, including the Gym & Dance show, learning outdoors and enjoying school lunches, while teachers worked tirelessly behind the scenes to mobilise online lessons from Monday 23rd March.
Despite some early teething problems, girls across London were soon embracing live sessions on their iPads from home on Monday morning. Via Microsoft Teams, pupils engaged with French conversation and lively drama lessons, Latin translation and independent reading tasks, logic problem-solving and online meditation. There have even been enrichment sessions and talks about potential career options, with teachers employing video conferencing, audio discussions, screen-sharing and collaborative documents. Some of the youngest pupils in the Junior School received recorded messages and challenges via Maple the school dog. Meanwhile, back on site, a dedicated team of teachers and support staff have ensured that the daughters of key workers were well looked after and following the same programme.
Pupil feedback has been positive: “Definitely a big change but the school’s approach has been really good. I am feeling less stressed already and have more time for hobbies like reading and sport (in my garden).”
“It is going better than expected, and I feel on top of my work so far. I definitely feel more relaxed now I’m getting into the groove of things – and my cat is certainly enjoying having us all at home.”
Over the Easter break, we are reviewing and refining the programme, with aims to bolster our pastoral learning and support as well as our co-curricular provision. Girls are already mobilising various clubs remotely, while the school magazine committee are busy preparing a digital issue of The Penguin for next term – one of the many shining examples of the South Hampstead spirit and resolve.