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Reviewing today, preparing for tomorrow

4th May 2020

The confusion and continual noise from government and the media is not assisting in helping schools and headteachers plan for the immediate future.

Onlinelearning5.5.20On the one hand, headteachers are working very hard with staff to ensure on-line content and collaborative provision are of the highest quality and reaches all those across our school communities. Not only are staff preparing work for children to access, but also increasingly progressive and varied ways are being used to maintain interest, engagement and stimulation. This is a challenge, as we now enter a clear phase where ‘new’ learning must be attempted. The days before Easter when consolidated work could be set have long gone. Children need to be taken on a journey, which stretches their learning into new content and skills. This requires a particularly skilful approach in order to ensure that children are not left behind with no teacher to guide in person and spot likely errors. Schools are using a variety of feedback strategies to try to reach out to children and families and convey meaning, value and direction to work undertaken during the lock down.

Schools have also undertaken quality assurance work and review on the quality and nature of remote learning. This is to evaluate the effectiveness of their work. Questionnaires, staff meetings and line management approaches are all used to maintain the high-quality approach all our schools are renowned for.

While keeping this plate spinning, the noise around re-opening continues to grow, without any direct or clear instruction. Primary first or older secondary based examination groups? Year 6 students or Year 10? Childcare or Education? We have yet to see the government make up their mind.

It is hoped that when I write next week’s bulletin, we should have some further clarification on the matter. June 1st or September 1st? We shall see.

I am confident, in my conclusion, that all our schools and leaders are working both on the quality of the here and now, whilst doing all they can to prepare for a resumption of school, after lockdown eases. Professionalism and commitment are demonstrated everywhere I look. From leaders to classroom practitioners, from support staff to central team staff. We at Athena are right behind you. Every step of the way.

Jack Mayhew, Executive Headteacher  Athena Schools Trust

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