Sleaford schools gearing up for face to face or online learning next term

Schools across the UK say they are prepared to switch to online learning if they have to next term, as more children stay at home because of Covid.

An address by Principal Nick Law. EMN-211216-154917001

After guidance from the Department for Education this week, some children are being offered laptops to take home with them over the Christmas break in case there is a return to remote learning in the new year and a staggered return to classrooms.

Nick Law, Principal of the Robert Carre Trust which runs Carre’s Grammar School and Kesteven and Sleaford High School was optimistic about the coming term, but prepared.

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He told The Sleaford Standard: “The number of infections in both schools remains in single figures and it has been like this for the last few weeks, so learning has been able to continue and students in Years 11 and 13 were able to do their exams.

Speeches were given by Jess and Sophia at the joint prize giving event for the Robert Carre trust schools in Sleaford's St Denys' Church. EMN-211216-154906001

“It is important that they did these as it forms part of the contingency plan should exams be cancelled in the summer. Another set of exams are planned for February/March for these students.”

He added that extra-curricular activities have continued with an excellent participation rate. “We have seen a return to normality over the last two terms, albeit with some measures in place to ensure the safety of the staff and students, such as break time in zones, one-way systems around the school, year group and Key Stage assemblies rather than whole school, and the students predominantly facing the front in classrooms.”

End of term events have also continued in some shape or form: “We have adapted events at the end of this term to put the safety of our community first. We were able to have our traditional Christmas lunch for students with senior staff serving and we had a prize giving in St Denys’ yesterday afternoon (Wednesday) for the Year 12 and some Year 13 students, but with no guests.”

This meant last year’s leavers could not return to collect their prizes and certificates as some had not finished their university terms while others were nervous about potential spread of infection.

A musical performance was given by vocal acappella group, Jinx at the prize giving event in St Denys' Church. EMN-211216-154927001

Mr Law said: “This was the first such cross-Trust event and was a lovely occasion with students speaking and performing, and students receiving their GCSE certificates as well as achievement prizes.

“The carol services are going ahead with reduced numbers and the musicians and singers are really excited about this, as are the students about the smaller group activities planned for the last day, such as the virtual staff panto and virtual student talent show at KSHS and Big Christmas Quiz at Carre’s.”

As for next term, despite doubts nationally, Mr Law said they were positively planning for a return to school next term as normal, with the exception being that all students will have a lateral flow test upon their return. This will be administered on site, as per the government guidelines.

Mr Law said: “Should the Government alter its plans we are ready to return to online learning with pastoral systems and technology available to support that. As ever, we listen carefully to the advice about balancing the mental health and wellbeing of our students with their physical wellbeing and that of their families.

Kesteven and Sleaford High School Year 7 form prefects who decorated the school tree with decorations including messages from students and staff for loved ones no longer with us. EMN-211216-170752001

“We know that young people missed out on a lot of opportunities during previous lockdowns and are keen to give them uninterrupted schooling. We await the government’s instruction in the New Year and are confident that staff and students will adapt as brilliantly as they have done in the past.

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