Welcome back to our ECS Learning update series. We have seen an extraordinary sense of school community over the last few months and a passionate approach from our staff to ensure that your children are safe, happy and ready to learn. Thank you for your understanding and support as we have navigated our way to a safe re-opening this term. We have put pupils’ mental health and wellbeing at the forefront of our thinking and we are thrilled that ECS is buzzing with energy!
The following update series will continue to provide you with information about how we will be supporting pupils’ academic and pastoral development this term. As always, we want to hear your feedback and work in partnership with you to make improvements that benefit all our pupils. Please do not hesitate to contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to share any thoughts or ideas you may have throughout this term.
The Year Ahead
We know that the year ahead is crucial as we re-establish learning routines and reconnect with our pupils, so that all can thrive. Covid-19 will have affected every family in different ways and the strains of lockdown may have created new barriers to learning. We hope that many of you had a positive experience as part of our ECS Learning @ Home provision and were able to make the most of home learning as well as additional family time. However, we know that this experience will have been varied and what matters now is how well we respond to the needs of your children.
Our number one priority is to continue to provide support for your child’s social and emotional needs. This occurs during dedicated Form Tutor sessions, within timetabled PSHE and Wellbeing lessons, as part of ‘Bubble’ assemblies, within our academic curriculum and, crucially, as part of everyday practices and interactions around the School. We are delighted to have noticed that many pupils are quickly regaining confidence in their abilities and positively settling back into school life. If you have any concerns about your child’s wellbeing throughout this year, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s Form Tutor in the first instance.
High Quality Teaching
Combined with our ongoing commitment to supporting pupils’ wellbeing, the year ahead focuses on providing all pupils with high quality teaching. We are continuing to use a broad array of teaching strategies, combined with expert subject knowledge and understanding of pupil needs, to positively impact upon learning. Our curriculum aims across both the Prep and Pre-Prep remain unchanged with a broad and balanced approach to learning that captures the fun, enthusiasm, inquisitiveness, and creativity that exist at the very heart of outstanding educational practice.
To help you understand more about the curriculum content for pupils across the school, please see curriculum letters and booklets in the documents section of the Engage Parent Portal. Further details about the curriculum content will be communicated throughout the term.
To support high quality teaching, we are employing a variety of strategies to sensitively diagnose pupils’ learning. We are interested in understanding what new knowledge and experiences pupils have gained and whether we need to re-teach certain skills or concepts. Teachers are using frequent, low-stakes assessments (verbal questioning, quizzes, multiple choice activities) to build a picture of pupils’ learning, provide positive feedback and support, and consequently help all our pupils to feel confident in their abilities.
In the past we have combined our class assessments with GL Assessment standardised tests to help us fully understand pupils’ progress and respond to their learning needs. We are keen to continue using these assessments and we will be working with teachers before finalising dates for both Pre-Prep and Prep pupils. Further details will be provided before the half term break.
During last term we were thrilled to see how well pupils adapted to Microsoft Teams and how effective it was in helping them to learn. This year, we are continuing to use Teams as a digital learning tool in school and, if needed, a plan is in place to allow us to continue teaching remotely. We are also looking forward to consulting with you about options that will allow pupils to use devices in school.
For now, we are using Teams across the school as a platform to discuss and celebrate pupils’ learning, to set and mark homework, to encourage wider reading and to foster the development of independent learning skills for all pupils.
Homework tasks will be communicated to pupils in several ways. Like normal, pupils will be informed about any homework during lessons and provided with time to record it in their exercise books. Teachers will also communicate homework via the Teams platform on their class pages. We hope that this makes it easier for you at home to support your child’s learning. For pupils who attend Prep Club or are part of the Boarding community, staff will be able to support them and explain homework tasks.
Your child should now have an Office 365 account that will allow them access to our Teams learning platform. I have attached some guidance about how to login and use Teams that I hope will be useful. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
We want to continue to provide you with ample opportunities to engage with us this term and celebrate pupils’ successes. As you are already aware, it is a little harder than normal to invite you into our school buildings and run events. However, we are aware that many of you will still want to stay connected and provide feedback and so do we. Please continue to contact us via email, telephone or book a meeting in school.
Beginning Week 5, we will be providing you with more options to meet us with remote and onsite meetings and tours of the classrooms planned. Further details will follow.
We want to hear your thoughts on how you wish to stay connected with us during the term. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any ideas.
Thank you for your continued support.