Top Marks for Stover’s Virtual Schooling
Life has been challenging for everyone over the last few months; at Stover School the entire community, pupils, staff and parents, have all had to learn and adapt to a new ‘normal’. The School has always prided itself on preparing confident and independent young people who can adapt and succeed in an ever-changing world. The reaction of our community to the Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated this in an extremely impressive fashion.
Adapting to lockdown has not been an easy journey, but as a school, the individualisation in our teaching and the nurturing of each pupil has continued to drive our decision making and shape our priorities throughout the crisis. Headline stories dominating the news, talk of a ‘lost generation’, unable to access learning; here at Stover School, we were determined to give our pupils the best possible learning experience, even if we were not allowed to access the site.
After the announcement of school closures on the 23 March 2020, the staff set about planning and designing the delivery of all that the school has to offer and crucially retaining continual teacher contact, in the virtual world. Live lessons take place using Google Classroom, which enables face to face classroom teaching and learning. Assignments, group discussion, presentations, teaching episodes and homework can all be completed, with teachers able to provide continual feedback, much as with a ‘normal’ lesson.
Virtual Stover ensures each and every pupil from Reception to Sixth Form has a daily timetable, following the usual lesson and activity plan, with screen time for Preparatory pupils being slightly limited when compared to their normal timetabled day at school. All of the usual subjects are still being taught live and face to face, including PE, Art, Music, Drama, IT, Modern Foreign Languages and even virtual Food and Nutrition lessons! We have continued our Activity programme for the Senior and Preparatory School, which has enabled the Seniors to continue completion of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme and pursue Combined Cadet Force tasks and for Prep pupils to continue to enjoy their cubs such as writers club, gardening and origami. The staff have been creative in their approach and aware of mental and emotional health, devising well-being based activities such as mindfulness, lego building and wildlife photography. We will even managed to deliver after-school pupil led music concerts and our Sports Day via a heptathlon and decathlon of ‘fun home’ sports. At Stover, we have strived to deliver the full academic curriculum, but in addition and importantly, all of the extra initiatives, where pupils can celebrate their successes. This will be marked at the end of term with a full virtual Speech & Prize Giving Event where pupils will be recognised for everything from excellent Chemistry to excelling in outdoor pursuits and Forest School.
There has been a great deal of change to everyone’s lives over the last few weeks and months and we are mindful of the potential impact on our pupils’ mental health and wellbeing. Face to face interaction with teachers on a daily basis plays an important role in managing this. Our daily routine has continued as much as possible including assemblies, form time, PHSE and House challenge competitions, all providing social interactions with peers and continued pastoral support. The staff feed information to the school Pastoral Team, Counsellor, Nurse and Learning Support team, who have actioned targeted personal support where it is required.
For all pupils there is uncertainty at present, but for those who would see a transition either to a new school or a new class in September, this is an even more stressful time. At Stover we have recognised the need to continue to manage this for our pupils; this month will see an online live and virtual ‘move-up day’ in the Preparatory School, Year 6 Transition Day for both Stover pupils and pupils new to the school and a week-long Induction Programme for Year 11 pupils who will be joining the Sixth Form.
None of this would have been possible without the continued support of our community. Our pupils and parents have embraced ‘Virtual Stover’ and we have seen just how resilient and adaptable we can all be. Our parents have been so supportive and we have received some lovely feedback about the virtual school. One parent commented, ‘I just wanted to say a massive thank you for being so brilliant and helping to give the children such a lovely teaching experience online. It has such a lovely, varied, slick and clear teaching programme. It makes such a difference! It is such a great school!’
We have found, over the last few months, that Covid-19 has highlighted the benefit of a Stover education, not only in the excellent academic outcomes children enjoy, but in the personal growth that pupils receive. The research based approach to learning, really does build a skill set that readies pupils for the world, however unpredictable. This makes a Stover education arguably one of the best investments a parent can make. We have a very large campus with extensive outdoor learning opportunities which, hopefully, we will be able to enjoy and learn in when we return in September. Another parent said, ‘We would like to take this opportunity to praise the staff for their excellent tuition online, which has been of a high standard and we feel she has most definitely not suffered in her education due to this pandemic in any way at all. As a family are truly grateful for this. Stover have been amazing in their support!”
Stover School is also proud to be part of the #safeschools initiative which means we have committed to adhering to the Boarding Schools’ Association’s (BSA) COVID-Safe Charter. Established in May 2020, the Charter aims to ensure the safety of all pupils and staff as schools begin to re-open across the UK, following closures due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
If you would like to find our more information about immediate or future places at Stover School please email our Registrar, Mrs Emma Schramm, at firstname.lastname@example.org .