The Birkenhead Park School Makes Remote Learning the Full Package
9 February 2021
The Birkenhead Park School has been leading the way in education’s response to the national lockdown and physical closure of schools, with the school’s remote learning package being a full array of educational experiences allowing students to flourish academically and personally even when working from home.
Ensuring that all students have access to the world class remote learning platform that the school uses for its remote learning provision is of course essential, with nearly 300 laptops issued to students in need courtesy of a combination of the Department for Education and the Local Authority, plus donations from Everton FC and the local charity ‘Cradle to Career’. Students have also been supported with nearly 50 WiFi dongles provided to support digital learning, and mobile data increases requested for students who require it.
While making sure that students have the right access to devices allows teaching, learning and assessment to never stop at the Birkenhead Park School, our commitment to students’ all-round education during lockdown means that a far broader programme is happening every day, with teachers, staff and our wonderful students stepping up to meet the changing circumstances with exemplary positivity.
The Microsoft Teams platform has allowed students to still operate a full timetable of learning each day, with the technology offering so much more than just a video call. Attendance is tracked, homework set and live quizzes are used to enhance learning from home, with students also able to stay in touch with their teachers via the chat function. Our teachers continue to deliver engaging lessons, and the notion of just using this time to set students work to complete rather than experience full live teaching has been fully rejected. Teachers have re-thought lesson plans with the new technology in mind, and every student is encouraged and focused upon in exactly the same way as being physically in the classroom.
Students are recognised for their hard work each week, with every department choosing their ‘Remote Learning Rockstar’ who has been an outstanding example of achievement and commitment during virtual activities. ‘Character Champions’ are also honoured, linking creative tasks to character-building themes of the week such as mental health awareness. Sporting challenges help students stay fit and active, with a variety of exercises and undertakings attempted, and rewarded with a Sports Personality of the Week. This sits alongside live PE lessons, which have expanded to involve HIIT fitness, Yoga and Functional Skills workouts.
The start of February has seen over 650 remote learning study packs delivered to students in the post, complete with exercise books, keyword sheets, a literacy mat and personal development postcards to help learning from home become aligned with classroom activities, and live reading sessions are attended by Years 7 and 8 each week.
All of these initiatives have been supported with supplying eligible students with the food vouchers and parcels that they need, with more than £6,000 of school meals vouchers being distributed each week. The school has been open to support children of key workers and vulnerable students, and whether on-site or at home, all students have received the support that they deserve.
Headteacher at The Birkenhead Park School, Mrs Johnson, said: “I am extremely proud of the way that our staff and our students have stepped up and responded so positively to these changing times. The staff still deliver a full timetable of live lessons and the response from the students has been nothing short of superb. The relationship between teachers and students has never been more important and students have grasped this opportunity to stay in regular touch with their teachers as they would do face-to-face and continue with their lessons from home.”
“The enrichment that the staff have planned and implemented has offered so much more than being in front of a computer screen all day and challenges students’ creativity, making sure they are keeping engaged and active whilst also having fun. The weekly rewards, prizes and recognition of the students is lovely to be a part of, and seeing their wider achievements outside of their lessons is very pleasing.”
Mrs Johnson concluded: “We will always be determined to offer our students the best all-round education, personal development and school experience as possible, and these changing circumstances do not alter that. Our resolve to make sure that students thrive at The Birkenhead Park School has never been stronger, and the students’ attitude and response to that during this time is a credit to them, their families and the entire school community.”