With lockdown in full force, we continued with limited on-site operations this week, open only for students of key workers and those who are considered vulnerable. The teaching team are largely working from home, with one day in school a week for most of them. In the meantime, the testing team have again gone above and beyond the call of duty administering 400 COVID-19 LFD tests across both LECA and Highfields in the space of 9 days. The main work of the testing team is now complete with just weekly testing and serial testing continuing from now on.
Our work on remote learning continues and we are always looking to improve what we deliver and how we deliver it. On Thursday, one of our first live lessons was delivered by Mrs Cameron (Food Technology) and more will be following from across the school in the coming weeks. This represents a massive shift from lockdown one in March last year and is the result of some excellent work from the LECA Senior Team driving this forward quickly and effectively. I should say that it's important not place live lessons as the 'gold standard' of remote learning. Students learn in many different ways so we see this an additional tool to add to videos, voice-overs and demonstrations rather than an end point to strive towards. All of these together create a suite of learning which we feel sure will engage all learners.
This week we also, for the second year running incredibly, launched our Options process for Year 9 remotely! From the 25th of January, the Options portal will open for Year 9 students to make their choices and, in between, parents or students should email subject teachers directly for information and guidance about individual courses. All of this and more has been sent home to Year 9 parents this week so please do make contact with Mr Mortlock if you nee any help. Hopefully, for the current Year 8, we'll be doing all of this live next year rather than via email!
Occasionally I get asked what the team does when they're not in school and not planning, creating resources or teaching. The answer is long and may surprise some of you - I'll probably forget a few things too.
1) Wellbeing phone calls to all vulnerable students who are not in school. This is a vital part of our safeguarding procedures during closure.
2) Safeguarding meetings to check all of the above are happening and the students are safe and well.
3) Emails to students who need help with remote learning or who are not engaging.
4) Designing of subject curriculums. This is ongoing work to constantly improve what we offer our students.
5) Remote team meetings. Keeping in touch and reporting back is really important so weekly remote meetings continue with the sub-teams at LECA.
6) Trust meetings and training events. For example over the next couple of days there are Oracy workshops, Leadership Training and training for newly qualified teachers.
7) Updating Go4Schools.
8) Updating the website with new resources and communications. Do keep checking this.
9) Updating social media to share all the great work they're doing. If you don't already, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and, of course, read the Blog every week!
10) Talking to or emailing parents.
In addition, the support team are not only involved in COVID testing but also administrating free school meal vouchers, sending data to the Department for Education, maintaining accurate registers of the students at school and supporting learning in class bubbles. There is always lots to do.
These lists are not exhaustive of course but give you a picture of what the whole team are doing, sometimes while themselves home-schooling their own children. They are a superb team and they have very much appreciated the many messages of support and thanks while they adapt once again to a new way of working. Thank you to all those who have taken the time to like, comment, email, write or even send chocolates and cake to raise morale. Unfortunately Mr Tatham spotted the sweet stuff from a mile off, so we didn't see much of that but thank you very much anyway - what a lovely gesture.
Finally, a note for our students at home. We hope you're all well and staying on track with your work. Please make sure you contact us if you need help or just want to talk. We are here for you and want to help you as much as possible. We will see you as soon as we can.
Take care and stay safe.