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Is your child’s school ready for another lockdown?

This has been a year of unprecedented change. Thinking back to just 12 months ago, the landscape in which schools operate was vastly different to that which we are challenged with now, and with so much uncertainty permeating all walks of life, school has to be a safe haven and a cornerstone for all.

When in February concerns were raised by the WHO about Coronavirus, CHS prudently began to plan for the worst, training all of the staff with Microsoft Teams, Share Point and Forms. In the two weeks before lockdown, printed packs of work to support a possible move to online teaching were issued to all parents so that when the inevitable came in March there was a seamless transition to an online curriculum. Our provision focussed on daily live Maths, English and Topic Sessions, although there was a little fun with Facebook live cooking! Education continued for all of our children. When we were given the option to bring back a few year groups in June, followed by the whole school in July we jumped at the chance with almost every child attending for the last two weeks of the Summer Term. Castle House School never closed, infact far from it.

We have certainly not seen the end of a Lockdown scenario and this will most probably happen again in the next few months. It is for this reason our online teaching provision has improved further, with children now using the full Microsoft Office suite and cloud storage to seamlessly transfer their work, no matter where they are working or what they are being taught.

One key questions is just much have our children at Castle House suffered over the last six months or so? The honest answer has to be of course they have to a certain degree, but this is as a result of having spent such long periods at home missing the friendship of their peers. However, have they lost out on education? This has certainly been minimised as much as possible through maintaining the daily contact with teachers, monitoring the wellbeing of the  children and demonstrating the flexibility to adapt and change at a moments notice.

Every morning from March until July the children were allowed to come onto Teams before their formal lesson started. They met with their friends, chatted and socialised online under the safety of our internet monitoring system. This was such a special time for the children with many pets, toys and hobbies being discussed in an open and nurturing environment. Many schools quickly closed their doors in March, choosing only to publish worksheets and leaving parents to get on with the education. This just isn’t good enough and the effort made by CHS on the online teaching is bearing fruit now.

Going forwards our school is different. Whilst trips and visits are curtailed in order to keep Covid-19 outside our gates, we still ensure our curriculum is rich and varied. We have concentrated on the basics, English and Maths since September. Our school is small and this provides for individual attention and the needs of each and every child. We have fully integrated technology into our learning, and we have ensured the emotional needs of each and every child is met. When asked what three things makes CHS special the answer is quite simple:

  1. We can assess the needs of each and every child, proving targeted individual teaching and personalised development plans due to our small classes and high pupil / staff ratios.
  2. We do not allow external factors such as Covid-19 to disrupt the education, in fact we embrace them and adapt.
  3. We have the freedom to teach ‘beyond the curriculum’, that is if a child is able, they can be stretched, if they need support they receive it.

Castle House is a unique and special place. We currently operate after hours ‘Covid-Safe’ visits. Do contact the school office us to arrange your next visit.

I Sterling

September 2020