Pupils only missed one days of lessons as staff worked ‘around the clock’ to pivot to a full digital curriculum within 48-hours
Whilst schools and universities remained open through the second national lockdown, social distancing and other Covid-19 safety measures continue to impose a very different education environment to that of a year ago. Many establishments are delivering a hybrid of face-to-face and virtual lessons to reduce the numbers of pupils in attendance at one time and to offer those that are self-isolating a continued education. For the Royal Hospital School, the transition for this lockdown is seamless, having refined the process earlier this year.
When the Government instructed schools across the UK to close on 20th March 2020, as part of the emergency measures to reduce the transmission of Covid-19, teachers, parents, and pupils were left confused and concerned about the immediate and long-term effects to education. Whilst head teachers across the UK waited for guidance on how to proceed with teaching and which pupils were eligible to attend school, the Royal Hospital School (RHS) was forging ahead with its digital learning journey which began seven years ago.
An independent co-educational boarding and day school for 11-18-year olds in Holbrook, Suffolk, like all schools across the country, the Royal Hospital School closed its doors on Friday 20th March 2020. Staff attended the school for an intensive day of training on the Saturday and a full live online timetable of classes for every pupil resumed via Microsoft Teams on Monday 23rd March.
In short, RHS pupils missed less than one day of education during a time when the majority of schools were unable to provide anything other than limited links to online worksheets and are still struggling with the challenges providing education during a pandemic brings. With staff working around the clock to pivot to a virtual timetable, RHS managed to deliver an astonishing 22,000 live online lessons as well as live assemblies and even virtual sports and choir sessions during the lockdown period.
Every RHS pupil had already been using a school iPad for the previous 6 years as an integral part of learning, so there were no issues for pupils joining lessons live, or, in the cases of international students, accessing recorded lessons at a suitable time within their local time zones.
Headmaster, Simon Lockyer, says: “RHS has always focused on excellence in teaching and learning, as well as pastoral care and it was important that we all took a fluid approach to delivering education during the pandemic. Every member of the RHS community, staff, pupils and parents, stepped up immediately to ensure the success of our immediate transmission to online learning. For our pupils to only miss one day of lessons is testament to the resilience of the team and the dedication of every stakeholder in the school. I am very proud of them all.”
Whilst the majority of students are now back at the school, there are still international students learning at home and pupils self-isolating so RHS has once again pivoted its delivery to a hybrid of on-site and online live lessons to ensure every pupil has access to the resources they need to continue uninterrupted education during the pandemic.
For more information about the school visit www.royalhospitalschool.org.