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  • Online learning resumes at our British boarding schools | Dickinson School Consulting

Online learning resumes at our British boarding schools

While some UK schools reopened to limited numbers of pupils on Monday 1st June, for most the new term sees them resuming their home-based online learning. This is being delivered in a number of ways over a variety of digital platforms, so we thought we’d feature a few examples.

Like many schools, King Edward’s Witley (KESW) is using Zoom to deliver its lessons, so pupils can meet teachers and classmates face-to-face, interact as a class or collaborate with their peers in small work groups, ask questions, share documents and even watch live demonstrations. It is also encouraging independent learning, however, to reduce the amount of screen time for pupil and staff welfare.

KESW has also adapted its co-curricular programme. The Music Department is delivering individual music lessons, as well as rehearsals for Chapel Choir and Orchestra, and a KESW@HomeTogether music extravaganza. The PE department is keeping everyone fit with a variety of online activities, including keepie-uppie competitions, yoga, indoor mountaineering and running club. The Art Department is holding tutorials and setting projects in a number of disciplines, while the Drama Department is running monologue training and its Theatre Makers Club is providing the chance to collaborate remotely on an original theatrical performance.

For those who would have been taking their GCSE exams, the school has developed a ‘Skills for Sixth Form’ programme, offering bridging courses to A Level and IB students, while the Upper Sixth will follow a ‘Skills for Future Success’ course to help them prepare for the worlds of work and university. This course goes beyond the academic, to incorporate careers and life-skills guidance, and even advice on budgeting, conflict-resolution, cooking and household maintenance!

Knowing that lockdown and the cancellation of their exams has arguably been toughest on A Level students, Dauntsey’s is running a new enrichment programme for its Upper Sixth.

The students can take part in a series of courses designed to challenge and stimulate, and provide a head start on life beyond school, whether that will be in the world of work, University or a gap year. Ranging from ‘An Introduction to Law’ to ‘Spanish for your Gap Year’ through to ‘Pre-University Social Sciences’ and an ‘Introduction to Gothic Literature’, the sessions started in early May and are running remotely through to July.

One course proving popular is the ‘The Dauntsey’s MBA-lite’, run by the school’s Bursar. For those 18-year-old students interested in finance, business management or accounting, the course provides a taster of some of the technical concepts that drive management decision-making and includes recent case studies of real-life business issues. The six one-hour weekly tutorials are run via Microsoft Teams, supplemented by reading materials and independent research relevant to each week’s tutorial.

Looking beyond the summer term, Sedbergh School has developed a brand new, four-week online course for students aged between 8 and 17 from all around the world. 

As it is unable to run the usual ‘onsite’ international summer school, staff have been working closely with academic teachers at Sedbergh to develop online ‘live’ English lessons and activities. By supporting its students with fun, useful lessons and recreating the Sedbergh Spirit with sports, activities and competitions at a distance, it aims to maintain the values and ethos of the summer school.

Sedbergh Online is a great opportunity for international students to further develop their English skills prior to joining a British boarding school in September.

This is a brief summary of ways just a few of the schools we know are maintaining their offer and standards of education at this difficult time. Please do contact us if you’d like to know more about these or any others, as we start to look ahead to a time beyond lockdown.

Photo by kind permission of King Edward's Witley