Class of 2021: June
Online resources for our Class of 2021 in June 2021
Although we have formally said goodbye to our Class of 2021, we have made considerable provision for them this term and we actively encourage them to stay connected with us, as did many in our Class of 2020 this time last year. Our online resources and the links we signposted definitely provided a vital lifeline and helped support their transition into the next phase of their learning.
This year, our programme for our Class of 2021 in Term 6 is much more comprehensive. We have created a special internal website for our school leavers which they can access through RMUnify via their normal school login and we are also offering them weekly tutor periods in MS Teams on Wednesday mornings.
As a priority all pupils should contact their college or sixth form provider in June to find out about their induction programmes later this term. This will also ensure no-one misses out!
We recognise pupils in our Class of 2021 may have gaps in their learning as a result of the pandemic. Therefore, in preparing these resources, teachers have focused on activities that will enrich and help bridge the gaps between GCSEs and further study. These have been tailored to provide support for foundation learners and challenge for higher ability pupils with aspirations to go on to university. The emphasis is on independent study and honing those research, information retrieval and discursive skills that are critical in academic learning.
We recommend our pupils spend a minimum of 3 hours a day on learning related activities. It is important they keep their minds fed and nurtured. To promote their wellbeing, our programme also includes creative tasks, personal challenges and opportunities for pupils to engage in virtual work experiences which they will need to apply for, all of which will help expand their CVs, something many were given constructive feedback on during their mock interviews in May. Similarly, we are promoting entrepreneurship by encouraging them to participate in the prestigious The Cotswold Challenge. Former Deer Park pupil, Sam Groves, won the Innovation and Entrepreneurial Thinking Challenge in 2020 for his ergonomically designed bird boxes (read more).
Our pupils are encouraged to strengthen their resilience and resourcefulness and are expected to choose their own pathway, matching it to their personal preferences and future courses. For example, a pupil proposing to study A level English Literature next year is directed to a reading list and related activities, whereas a pupil pursuing STEM subjects can specialise in one or more Sciences or practise high level Maths, specifically problem solving. We have also signposted Smallpeice courses - although virtual this year, these provide the opportunity to study for a few days alongside like-minded students at a university. There are also rich resources for those pupils interested in the Humanities, Arts, Design and PE.
Our decision to provide remote learning for our Class of 2021 has not been taken lightly. We are an 11-16 school and, annually, we roll our timetable forward in June and promote each year group and, following our own roadmap out of lockdown, we have been determined to do so again (read more).
On reflection, pupils in our Class of 2021 at Deer Park were less affected by school closures and the need for self-isolation than many other schools across the country. We were quick to establish live lessons in MS Teams and attendance at these interactive learning sessions was consistently high during each period of lockdown, and when in school, teachers and pupils made sure every minute counted in their face-to-face lessons. Together, and with the aid of our team of intervention tutors, these ensured very little learning was lost by pupils in this year group.
We wish all of our pupils every success in the future. We hope they will all make good use of the resources and activities we have presented and that they will stay connected with us and attend their tutor sessions.
We look forward to sharing their GCSE grades with them on Thursday 12 August 2021 and welcoming them all back to our Celebration of Achievement event in November. Further details about collection of GCSE results in August will be communicated with Year 11 and parents later this term.
Mr Bellamy, Assistant Head, Pastoral: 'We recognise the importance for our Class of 2021 to maintain the momentum of learning as they embark on their next step after leaving Deer Park. Thank you to our Heads of Faculty who, along with their teams, have created a wealth of resources for our Year 11s to access. Pupils have been advised to engage in a minimum of three hours online learning a day to ensure they are putting themselves in the best position when they start their new courses at college/sixth form. The resources are a mix of engaging activities as well as materials to prepare them for the next steps. Pupils have been taken through the content and signposted the relevant information. We all hope that our Class of 2021 will take this opportunity to prepare themselves for their futures.'