Swanbourne House School, the Buckinghamshire based independent day and boarding prep school near Milton Keynes, is celebrating a prestigious shortlisting in the Independent School of the Year Awards for their response to the Covid-19 crisis. The school impressed judges with its innovative and impactful efforts in supporting pupils during their remote learning in lockdown.
WITHIN the first week of lockdown, over 115 hours of online lessons were being taught on a live teaching online platform, where work could be uploaded for review and classroom discussions and debates could take place. Additional departmental challenges were sent out to pupils every week – these included STEM projects in making marble runs and self-propelled model cars, to researching Guinness World Records to building spaghetti bridges to French verb challenges.
Wellbeing was supported with initiatives such as regular 1-to-1 online appointments with personal tutors and the weekly Head’s Challenges – the ‘Family Wellbeing Activity’ and the ‘Reading in an Unusual Place’ Challenges attracted hundreds of photo and video entries throughout lockdown. These challenges encouraged children to use their imaginations in finding fun and adventure during a difficult period of social restriction, and a weekly film of entries was shared with the whole school community. The school also created an extensive virtual Enrichment Programme for pupils to continue to learn new skills at home with over 40 different enrichment activities shared by the school. In Performing Arts, all LAMDA and individual music lessons were moved on to the online teaching platform too.
As well as following a structured learning timetable, including registration with form tutors in the morning, online assemblies led by the Head, featuring announcements, achievements and performances were shared with pupils – this key part of the school week remained, albeit in a virtual setting.
Jane Thorpe, Head at Swanbourne House said “I’m absolutely thrilled Swanbourne House has been shortlisted for this prestigious national award. The shortlisting recognises the team’s hard work, ingenuity, tenacity and dedication in implementing an extensive, robust and effective programme of academic and co-curricular teaching and learning during lockdown. We knew our plans for ensuring our pupils continued to have as best an all-round Swanbourne experience as they could from home, including provision for our hugely enjoyable and productive Enrichment Programme, were undoubtably ambitious. However, we were determined to provide a platform for our pupils that would allow them to continue to progress and thrive in all areas of the curriculum whilst away from the physical site, and we were incredibly proud of the resilience, determination, energy and creativity shown by our pupils and staff during the remote learning period. What a team!”