An overview of school life in lockdown David Price, Headmaster
During periods of national lockdown, and in accordance with national guidelines, the school remained closed to the majority of pupils. We continued to welcome boys into school each day, who had critical worker parents or who fell under the category of vulnerable, and they were supervised by teachers or teaching assistants in their lessons alongside their classmates at home via the communication platform Microsoft Teams.
We started using Teams during the first national lockdown in the spring and summer of 2020 and it quickly became integrated into many aspects of school life, so much so that we continued to use it once we returned to school in September. We used it to set homework, hold parents’ evenings, for school assemblies to enable bubbles of pupils to join together regularly and to teach boys who were self-isolating at home. So while we were sad not to return to school after Christmas we were able to move smoothly into our remote learning mode.
While schools were closed (5 January 2021 until 8 March 2021) we offered boys a revised but busy timetable, including specialist lessons for boys in Years 4 to 6 with their teachers. All boys had weekly PE, French (Year 4 up) and music lessons. They had adequate breaks from their screens and there was time within the timetable for them to complete their homework as I firmly believe time after school should be focused on reading, playing and relaxing.
Each morning the boys had time to talk to their class teacher about any concerns they have and feedback is provided to boys and parents via Teams. In the first lockdown we encouraged the boys to take part in our Magnificent Mallians and Mini Mallians challenges. These were open ended tasks designed so the boys could problem solve, think creatively and demonstrate their prowess in art, design, music and sport. We offered similar challenges in the spring 2021 lockdown.
The well-being of our boys is extremely important to us and every day all the boys had face to face contact online with their class teacher. This was an opportunity for the boys to talk about what they have been doing, see their friends and discuss things that might be worrying. Our Assistant Head in charge of pastoral matters carries out a well-being survey every half term, including during lockdown, with all boys to see how they are doing. Where appropriate we can then discuss with parents what additional support we can put in place to support their sons.
I hope this section of our website will give you a flavour of what school life is like in lockdown as well as giving current parents all the information they need to help support their sons at home during this time. If you are considering The Mall for your son I hope you will be assured that should we need to move into another phase of remote learning in the future, we are best placed to make this transition seamlessly and with minimal disruption to your son’s education and learning and with his well-being our primary concern.