John O’Gaunt School in Hungerford shows how schools are having to adapt to the pandemic.
Staff at John O’Gaunt School in Hungerford have been ‘overwhelmed’ at the response to their live, interactive, online teaching provision. Supportive messages and thanks began to roll in from homeschooling parents and students, after just the initial few days, via emails, Twitter and in letters to local MP Laura Farris and Ofsted.
Head of School, Mr Richard Hawthorne said ‘It’s been such a challenging year for our school communities and their families. We have all been working to provision this scenario since the first Lockdown and have learnt so much since then.
This cohort of students are pioneers, and we’re very proud of the way they and their families have stepped up and embraced the new technology and ways of learning. Students have told us they really appreciate the structure of a ‘normal school day’ with everyone ‘in class.’
There’s a real sense of everyone working together. We’ll constantly review provision and we’ve left plenty of space in the timetable for students to step away from their screens for downtime and fresh air – learning this way can be very intense – but I’m incredibly proud of school staff too – they’ve pulled out all the stops and it’s been such a lift for us all to have this kind of feedback – thank you!
Mrs Thorp messaged the school to say ‘as a parent of two students, I am really impressed with the remote learning. I don’t feel like they are missing out on their education – in fact they are often engaging more! Keep up the great work Team JOG!’
One Year 9 student left a message on Teams, offering a review of his lessons ‘I really enjoyed them – I especially like that they’re interactive, not just an hour of listening – I think all the teachers are doing great – and it adds structure to my day when I have to get up and dressed for registration!’
Another parent said ‘it is a real treat to be on standby with homeschooling and hear your child being encouraged by name with an enthusiastic ‘Yes! Well done!’ It makes you want to cheer for them, there’s so much energy coming off the laptop, it’s just joyful!’
Meanwhile, John O’Gaunt School has transformed one of its buildings into a Covid Testing Suite, with staff members training, and donning PPE to test colleagues and those students that are in school.
Members of the Senior Leadership Team and the School Librarian rolled up their sleeves in a task they could not imagine doing a year ago.
A new, temporary floor was put in, and the room divided into curtained-off testing stations, with rooms off for the testing of swabs with Lateral Flow Devices.
One year 8 student said ‘Wow, I didn’t recognise the room! It’s as bright and white as a hospital!’ Students, who were understandably nervous, were reassured by seeing the familiar faces of school staff encouraging them behind the masks and visors.
Mrs Sam Tilling-Wells, School Business Manager and Test Centre Team Leader said ‘It’s all gone very smoothly and efficiently – the students have been amazing and really taken it all in their stride’. Mrs Sarah Thorne, the Head of School’s PA added ‘the student’s know they are making history. They’ll look back on this with pride, I’m sure.’
School Librarian Mrs Nicola Chester said ‘it’s quite emotional, seeing the students overcome any nerves and hesitation, do the test, then walk out of here that little bit taller, knowing that they’re helping to beat this disease that has affected us all. And then to hear them encourage others who are feeling nervous! We’re very proud of them!’