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Cirencester Deer Park School

Cirencester Deer Park School

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Blended Learning

In line with our Remote Learning Plan, pupils in Years 9 and 11 have been learning remotely this week:

  • By the end of Friday 13 November, teachers who are currently self-isolating but well had taught 53 lessons to their own classes in school remotely through MS Teams and continued to lead learning;
  • Since Monday 9 November, teachers in school and at home have taught a total of 89 lessons to pupils in Year 11 who are all required to be at home following a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the year group;
  • From Thursday 12 November, teachers in school and at home have taught 24 live lessons to pupils in Year 9 who are also required to learn remotely owing to staff shortages.
  • Furthermore, since Wednesday 11 November, the 25 pupils from two tutor groups in Year 7 identified as close contacts and who were asked to work remotely, have been invited to join 9 lessons taking place for their peers in school remotely, as well as being invited to attend 4 live lessons in MS Teams.  

We have been impressed by our Year 11 pupils’ exceptionally high levels of engagement in online learning and attendance at our live lessons in MS Teams since Monday 9 November and I am pleased we have begun to see the same degree of commitment in Year 9. I am grateful to my colleagues for the quality of their planning and I confirm we have been able to put timetables in place for each year group out of school that provide opportunities for blended learning* on and off line.

Chiquita Henson, Headteacher

* Blended learning is an approach to learning that combines face-to-face and online learning experiences. 

Pupils in Year 11 are out of school until Wednesday 18 November 2020 owing to a confirmed case of COVID-19 within the year group and 30% need to self-isolate as they were identified as close contacts. We are monitoring their engagement closely:  Mrs Stubbs, our Year 11 Year Leader, is following up any persistent absences. Therefore, we know that over 90% of our pupils in Year 11 are actively engaging and it was lovely to see so many join Miss Brace’s assembly on Tuesday afternoon.

Mrs Stubbs: ‘Year 11 have stepped up once again. They have shown expert resourcefulness and resilience. They modified their learning within hours of the year group being told to stay at home. Lines of communication have been open with parents and we have worked together to ensure the best possible outcomes for our pupils during this challenging time. I am proud to be their Year Leader.’


Pupils in Year 9 have been asked to work from home from Wednesday 11 November owing to staff shortages. We do not have a confirmed case of COVID-19 in this year group. While they do not need to self-isolate unless they have been identified as a close contact, pupils in Year 9 do need to stay at home as we are in a period of national lockdown. Mrs Burfoot, our Year 9 Year Leader, is on hand to provide support. She will also be following up any concerns teachers and parents have regarding remote learning.

Mrs Burfoot: 'Once again I am thrilled with how resilient the Year 9s are! Their engagement and enthusiasm when last in lockdown and their ability to work remotely was outstanding and I am already seeing the same determination and attitude to this way of learning, having being 'thrown' back into this independent learning environment today. It has been lovely to speak with a number of the year group already and I look forward to helping more and seeing them back in school soon.'

As shown on their timetable, pupils in Year 9 will all learn remotely for the rest of this week and we look forward to welcoming them back on a rota next week which will balance time in school and at home: 2 days in school and 2 days working from home.


Some pupils in other year groups are required to self-isolate and they should also continue with their learning remotely. They can do so by checking for lessons and resources in MS Teams and tasks on Show My Homework. Where there are a significant number from one class working remotely, as in Year 7 at present, teachers will endeavour to invite them to join their lessons remotely. Pupils working at home must check their school email regularly so that they don’t miss out on opportunities to learn alongside their peers.

Pupils can access their email, Show My Homework and MS Teams via RM Unify. logging in with their school email address ( and password.

'It was great to see a high uptake of pupils in Year 7 (who are self-isolating) getting remotely involved in lessons today. Teachers are getting to grips with how to deliver ‘blended learning’, having pupils in the class with them but also at home via Teams, but there was some great work already going on. Well done to both the pupils and the teachers involved with this.’ Liz Lang, Deputy Head.

In school, pupils are coping remarkably well in their teachers’ absences. To ensure continuity and progression we are asking those teachers who are self-isolating as a result of track and trace and are well, to teaching a proportion of their lessons remotely. While the classes are supervised, these are broadcast live to the pupils: they are interactive and well planned.

blended learning

Teaching from school to remote classes

blended learning


blended learning

Teaching a class in school remotely from home

'It was strange to start teaching classes of pupils in school from home - last time we were all individuals in our own houses. My thanks to colleagues in the classrooms for their support on the ground. I was once again massively impressed by our pupils and how they adapt so quickly to change!’  Miss Hope, Head of Ethics and Computing

‘I can imagine some parents might be concerned about the quality of teaching their children are receiving whilst we battle to teach remotely during periods of self-isolation. I would like to reassure them that with a well-planned lesson prepared by the isolating 'usual' teacher and their team teaching partner physically being in the classroom, the pupils receive the benefit of two qualified teachers supporting them. My own experience over the past few days has been really positive and quite refreshing. I have enjoyed co-teaching with staff from different faculties and the pupils have demonstrated high levels of engagement and resilience. I can't wait to be back in the classroom but until then I am confident that Deer Park pupils continue to be well taught and challenged.’ Mrs Pennington, Head of Maths.

'While Mrs Pennington was live on Teams from her home, I was facilitating in the classroom. What impressed me most about Mrs Pennington’s teaching was the clarity of her explanations and the planned and precise way in which she brought a targeted range of pupils into her worked examples. The pupils were all able to evaluate stem and leaf diagrams expertly by the end of the lesson. Even though Mrs Pennington wasn’t physically in the room, the pupils and I learned plenty, and had a good experience. We look forward to Mrs Pennington’s return but she’s letting no pupil off the hook during her period of self-isolation.’ Richard Clutterbuck, Deputy Head.

"During Lockdown 1 and now Lockdown 2 I have found learning at home a very different experience to what it is like at school. I have the found the whole 'online schooling' very strange as we are not face-to-face with the teacher, but once I got used to it, I quite enjoyed it. I also find that I work better in my own space. I am looking forward to my first Teams lesson tomorrow and to carry on with my learning." Year 9 pupil

year 9 remote learning

"Despite being at home (again), I can find everything I need by utilising my school email, MS Teams and Show My Homework, which are right at my fingertips. My teachers consistently reply quickly no matter the time of day. It's just a shame I can't talk to my friends face-to-face, but at least I don't have to walk to school in the cold!" Year 9 pupil

Year 11 blended learning

“I feel that working from home is quite a shock this time around due to the lack of warning beforehand. However, I also feel that the teachers impulsive response has allowed my peers and I to hit the ground running and continue our learning efficiently.”  Year 11 pupil