Back at School!
Road map out of the third lockdown
This week, week commencing Monday 8 March 2021, we have been delighted to welcome our pupils back into school. Our teachers, who had become accustomed to talking to black boxes on screen, have been relieved to re-establish eye contact!
In line with the guidance we received from the government, we put additional preventative measures in place and phased our pupils' return. We have been impressed by how quickly they have engaged in COVID testing, complied with wearing face coverings and re-adjusted to being back at Deer Park.
After coming in on Monday 8 March for their first COVID tests, pupils in Years 10 and 11 recommenced their learning in school on Tuesday 9 March. It was evident they were all pleased to see each other and ready to learn.
"It was fabulous to see so many smiling faces." Mrs Ellison, Year 10 Year Leader
Pupils in Years 8 and 9 followed the example set by those in Key Stage 4 and started back in the classroom after their first COVID tests on Wednesday 10 March. They too were very happy to be back; they were excited and enthusiastic.
"I've loved seeing the Year 9s back in school, the buzz in the classrooms and outside at lunchtimes is a wonderful familiar sight and sound - long may it continue!" Mrs Burfoot, Year 9 Senior Year Leader
Finally, pupils in Year 7 returned to their lessons on Thursday 11 March.
"It is wonderful to see all the Year 7s back in school. I've missed them, although they are certainly keeping me busy!" Mrs Hannis, Senior Year Leader (Year 7)
Pupils spoken to confirmed their relief and joy: so many have shown tremendous resilience. They have been creative and resourceful.
Our pupils have been reflective. While they are very grateful for the support they received while learning independently at home, they welcomed the ’change’ of scene, the structure provided by the school day and the opportunity to catch up with friends. They have definitely appreciated learning alongside each other again.
Year 7 comments:
"I'm enjoying the food again!" Natalie
"My first day at DP was good, I made lots of new friends." Daisylove
"I was a bit nervous but it was good." Ollie
"I was really pleased to finally do a Science lesson in a lab." P
Year 9 comments:
"I learn better when I'm in school." Lyta
"Happy to be back with friends." Ben
"Less stressful learning in school" Grace
Year 10 comments:
"It's all been so good. I've especially enjoyed the Art and Cookery lessons." Sharnah
To ensure pupils could continue with their learning and make good progress while learning remotely from Tuesday 5 January to Thursday 4 March 2021, teachers taught over 4,000 live lessons in MS Teams and assigned nearly 6,000 tasks in Show My Homework.
In response to the structure, guidance and inspiration their teachers provided, pupils showed exceptionally high levels of engagement. The average attendance in MS Teams lessons across all year groups and all subjects was 87%. However, our monitoring shows that in many individual lessons attendance consistently exceeded 95%. This is very commendable and, as a consequence, many pupils made their best endeavours to keep up and evidence of some of their work is displayed in our online gallery.
Teachers and support staff supervised pupils attending our in-school provision and provided encouragement while our teaching assistants provided personalised support for pupils in school as well as those learning at home.
Our intervention tutors, who started in January, provided over 800 one-to-one online tutorial sessions for 146 pupils, identified by their teachers for this additional support in English, Maths, Science and Humanities. They are now looking forward to meeting and working with their tutees face to face.
We thank our pupils’ parents for the support they provided their children with home learning. Many pupils reflected on how this was managed and we know this has not always been easy. While many of our pupils developed their independent learning skills and exercised the self-discipline normally required for later academic study, others admitted that managing the distractions at home was a challenge! In time they will come to appreciate the structures put in place to support them.
We are grateful to everyone who has helped us achieve such a smooth transition this week. Our pupils have been respectful and cooperative. They have exemplified our school standards.
Our team of volunteers participated in training and have safely supervised over 1,500 COVID tests. They have all been welcoming, reassuring and supportive.
Members of our site and maintenance team worked hard to ensure the whole school was ready for re-opening and, on our in-service training day on Friday 5 March, teachers and support staff planned for the remainder of this term and looked forward to what we may be able to achieve in the period after Easter.
Using the review dates identified by the government, we have developed our own ‘road map out of lockdown’ and, while this is subject to the same tests the Prime Minister will use, we are optimistic about what we will be able to achieve.