Kimbolton During Lockdown
Find out how our pupils continued learning during lockdown.
Summer Term 2020: How our pupils continued learning during lockdown
During the summer term, due to the COVID-19 situation, Kimbolton School was only open to children of key workers, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6, as well as offering limited in-school teaching days for Fourth Form and Lower Sixth Form.
'Virtual Kimbolton' continued throughout, with children learning online and their teachers providing a varied and stimulating range of lessons and tasks for them to complete. Find out more below and see some of our pupils' work in the 'Learning in Lockdown' photo gallery.
Before School closed, tutors spent time with their classes, talking about 'Virtual Kimbolton' and how it would work, allaying their concerns and promoting good home learning habits.
Our aim was to deliver the courses and curriculum so that children continued their educational journey and developed academically, whatever stage they were at in the school. Children of key workers attended school, following the same programme as their home-based peers but supervised by teaching staff.
Prep School (Reception to Year 6)
Children followed a daily programme that offered a degree of structure and continuity of learning as far as practicable. There was a balance of subjects to enjoy each day, time for activities, independent learning opportunities and space for daily reading plus instrumental practice for our musicians. They received work daily via messages to their parents who then returned the completed work in a similar way.
From the Summer Term, the Prep School used Seesaw, an online learning support tool, with staff uploading resources for children to access from home.
Feedback from Parents:
- Thank you very much for your efforts and hard work in planning our virtual school. It is quite inconceivable that we find ourselves in this situation in the year 2020, and yet here we are. I realise that you will have faced multiple challenges with more to come, undoubtedly. Kimbolton has a strong team mindset and pulling together in the same direction will deliver a win. I am very grateful for the care and education you have provided for my one and only daughter. She loves her school and her teachers. She will miss you all yet hopefully will see you in the not too distant future. Thank you again for your dedication, resilience, creativity and team spirit. Thank you for looking after our children and those whose parents are essential healthcare and support services workers.
- I just wanted to say a heartfelt thank you to all the amazing staff at Kimbolton Prep. You have all gone above and beyond in a truly difficult and unprecedented situation. Thank you for keeping our children safe and happy. Thank you for providing them with continuity of learning and security. Your actions speak volumes about the core values of the School. We are very grateful.
In just four weeks up to early June 2020, the pupils and staff had made over 42 000 posts on Seesaw, resulting in more than 57 500 comments on pupils' work and nearly 7000 'likes'!
Senior School - First to Fourth Forms (Years 7 to 10) and Lower Sixth (Year 12)
We have been a digital school for many years now with all Senior School pupils and staff using iPads and iTunesU for some teaching, homework and course delivery. The Senior School's switch to remote learning was therefore relatively straightforward.
We scaled up the provision to provide a virtual school: delivering lessons, work, learning and course content to pupils based on their school day and timetable. Teachers uploaded lessons to iTunes U for the particular day so that pupils could work online and maintain their learning habits, term time routines and exam preparation.
Schoolwork varied from subject to subject but the essential elements were the same as in school, namely: following curriculum content and courses; academic tasks; reading and research; handing in of work for marking and feedback; online discussions; and email dialogue between teachers and pupils. Pupils followed their timetabled lessons in the sequence if not necessarily exact timings of the day.
Importantly, for us as a school, for our pupils’ education and wellbeing, and for our families, we followed a daily and weekly routine with a balance of academic and intellectual activity, physical activity, social interaction and relaxation. Pupils followed their normal timetables, Monday to Friday, with online lessons and guidance for academic work and physical education to keep them healthy and active in body and mind. Classes and pupils ‘buddied’ up with other pupils online to share and support each other and families were encouraged to set aside some reading time and to factor in exercise and fresh air breaks where possible.
Tutors contacted their tutees at least weekly to check on their progress and wellbeing.
Feedback from Parents:
- I am just writing to extend my thanks to you and your staff for your amazing response to the Covid-19 pandemic and particularly yesterday's announcement. Your emails have been informative, pragmatic and actually very calming. I feel very lucky that my son is in an environment where he is so carefully cared for and nurtured. I wish you all the very best in the forthcoming months.
- Keep up the good work. I appreciate what you and your staff are doing for our children in these extraordinary times.
Senior School - Fifth Form (Year 11)
During the Summer Term, in place of revision and GCSE examinations, our Fifth Form followed our pre-A Level HeadStart programme. This gave them an opportunity to embark early on the next stage of their education via general and broadening pre-A Level courses based on their A Level options and led by our Sixth Form teachers.
This was a real opportunity to do the sort of things that teachers want to do but cannot because of the time and specification constraints of A Levels - a form of 'super-induction'. Pupils followed courses of study with work to do based around reading, research and mini-projects. The courses lasted for the duration of the summer term with certification upon course completion and the successful submission of the projects generated between the pupil and teachers in each of their three subject areas.
We did not teach the A Level specifications (that will begin in September), but we gave our pupils a real academic breadth to their future A Level studies; a grounding in their chosen subject areas; development of study techniques and higher reading levels. The study programme also gave pupils momentum before we began classroom teaching again.
Tutor support continued with a minimum of weekly contact.
Feedback from Parents:
- I thought the first week of 'Virtual Kimbolton' [just before our half term] was brilliant. Considering he was still reeling from the cancellation of the GCSE exams, my Fifth Form son was surprisingly engaged and completed all of the tasks without any fuss. The 'extras', such as the Headmaster's assemblies, have kept him anchored into School life, interested, and have continued his contact with peers that aren't in his immediate friendship group. From a parent's perspective, the weekly correspondence with his tutor to check what he has been up to and that he is still ok is excellent.
- The HeadStart programme will keep my child engaged with the School. It will stop him drifting during the long gap to September, especially when there are so few out-of-home options. The fact that it is focussed on their chosen A Level subjects makes it a taster course and thus more attractive than any extension to their GCSEs. My son isn't so sure about it - but I know he'll acknowledge the benefit afterwards!
- We were incredibly impressed to see how quickly and comprehensively the School responded to the exceptional situation imposed by Covid-19, which included the cancellation of GCSE exams. From our side, the move towards early A Level focus has given us great reassurance and more importantly, it has relieved our son's concerns and given him the opportunity to move on mentally and refocus his energy, after the dramatic turn of events. It’s a great idea and a fabulous opportunity. We are entirely sure that, with the support of his teachers, the HeadStart programme will give O a real advantage, giving him a unique chance to broaden his understanding and delve deeper into his A Level subjects, through research, reading and project work. He will start the Lower 6th year, when it comes, with confidence. We appreciate that a huge amount of planning, thought and man-hours must have gone into the fine details of this programme during the Easter holidays. Sincere thanks to everyone involved.
Senior School - Upper Sixth Form (Year 13)
With their public examinations cancelled and therefore a long six months until the start of their university courses, we offered our Upper Sixth students the opportunity of an optional pre-University study programme. By looking ahead and taking the initiative, they were able to lay the foundations and groundwork for their university studies whilst adding a positive element to their CVs and personal development.
This encouraged them to continue their academic, active thinking processes in a productive way with a focus on their degree course, or work area. It provided a grounding in their chosen subject areas, kept study habits fresh, broadened reading, and give them a competitive edge when they began their university careers later in the year.
Those who opted-in had their tutor as a sounding board and support for their chosen work.
Feedback from Parents:
- At a time of great uncertainty, particularly for our young people at the end of their school career with “what next” beckoning, I feel that the programme being offered to Kimbolton UVI will be of huge benefit. Whilst the period of lockdown that we’re all going through has generated understandable worry about the future, it has also been the catalyst of people showing genuine kindness and support to one another. I see what the school is offering as an extension of exactly that. The compassion offered to our 17- and 18-year-olds in terms of emotional assistance, as well as a prompt to continue exercising their minds, will be invaluable.
- This time presents a unique chance to be able to extend one’s learning, enjoy hobbies and interests, and explore new skills. I applaud the school in encouraging the UVI to embrace the opportunities out there, particularly with a view to preparing for university, all under the steady guidance of their known and trusted tutors. The efforts of the teaching and support staff to change the way that our children approach their learning in the term ahead is needless to say hugely appreciated.