Many of us can remember our first day at school. For some it may be a distant memory, belonging now in History books, when chalk and talk lead us through the curriculum. The school children of 2020 will also have their moment in History books, as the effects of COVID-19 led to lessons moving online and all-new activities being planned.
Through the dedication of our teaching staff and with the overwhelming support and confidence shown by our parents, education continued in Moreton First. In a remarkable example of determination, when traditional in-school lessons came to close in March, new and exciting possibilities for learning arrived on the horizon. Moreton First, together with schools across the country, embraced the idea of learning remotely. The timetable was adjusted to offer lessons across the screen. Lessons were live and interactive and the vital communication between pupils and teachers continued successfully. A new dialogue evolved as pupils and teachers agreed to ‘Zoom’, upload and download work throughout the day. The merits of Seesaw, PurpleMash and Firefly were explored fully and provided continuity of education in the most unexpected of situations.
Throughout this historic time there have also been some silver linings; IT proficiency increased by necessity and new lessons have been designed. After some initial hesitancy children’s and teachers’ confidence in front of the screen blossomed. Some teachers commented on how remote learning had beneficial effects for many children who contributed more confidently from behind the screen. Obstacles were overcome – all lessons plus Hymn Practice, Assemblies, Sport and Outdoor Education challenges were offered. Many parents were pleased to have an opportunity to witness their child learning in all subjects and have greater insight into that aspect of their life.
More recently, schools turned their attention to the possibility of reopening, albeit only for certain year groups. With the same vigour, preparations were put in place to accommodate Reception, Year 1 and Year 6, back in their Moreton First classrooms. The health and safety of every individual was the priority and a return to school plan required attention to every detail. In another example of a ‘can do’ attitude, Moreton First opened its doors to three year groups on Monday 8 June. The excitement visible on the faces of the children when seeing classmates reaffirmed that at least being offered the option to return was a positive experience for many. Provision for those continuing their learning at home remains as thorough and well-received as ever. We continue to see confidence grow as the week has passed and look forward to seeing more children as time passes.
The girls and boys who are back at school are now enjoying lessons with a teacher in the room whilst at times also welcoming interaction through the computer screen from subject specialist teachers. The curriculum for those in school and at home continues to be engaging and exciting. The children in school are able to communicate as one form regularly, still being able to speak to friends who have chosen to stay home through Zoom. It has been possible to include all children in form and story time ensuring the continuity of the class spirit.
We are looking forward to seeing all Moreton First pupils safely back in school. Meanwhile those in school are learning and socialising, which is such an important part of school life. They are revising those skills which children learn incidentally by just being with others. In the words of a Reception boy on greeting his parent at hometime,
‘Today was the best day ever!’
Catherine Ford, Headteacher, Moreton First