GHS at Home
Due to the current situation with Covid-19, our school site is only open to certain year groups and we are closely following government guidelines. Whilst Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 girls are now back at school, the Guildford High School learning journey continues online for most of pupils with our dynamic virtual learning programme. Whilst the means of delivery has changed, our strong academic offering, careful pastoral care and a creative approach to extracurricular activity remains the same.
OUR LEARNING PROGRAMME
Whether sitting together in a classroom or linking up virtually, our academic curriculum and GHS community is strong and supportive.
“I am blown away by what I think GHS has achieved over the past weeks in terms of the standard of teaching, agility and professionalism, motivating the girls, as well as keeping the other non-academic elements of their education going.” GHS PARENT
Technology has underpinned classroom-based learning at GHS for many years and the transfer to full virtual learning for pupils has been a huge success. We are familiar with remote teaching, it has been used to support our athletes, musicians and actresses as they compete nationally or perform in high profile events whilst juggling schoolwork. Our approach to remote learning during our school closure has therefore been to build on our usual ways of teaching.
Microsoft Teams is our main remote learning platform where all pupils and teachers can securely meet as a class, share documents, complete work, receive feedback and video chat. All lessons for Senior School pupils have continued to be taught using Microsoft Teams with lesson time reduced to allow for a timetable offering balance. Subjects such as Art, Sport, Textiles, Food and Design Technology are also continuing remotely to keep variety. Teachers are taking registers as normal at the start of every lesson and are using a wide range of learning resources to deliver our usual excellent education.
We have been finding different ways to measure pupil understanding through software such as Microsoft Forms, Quizlet, Kahoot, Kerboodle, Desmos in addition to traditional spoken questioning in synchronous video lessons in Microsoft Teams.
Our teachers have also embraced digital marking through voice and video feedback with Showbie and Microsoft OneNote, in addition to Apple Pencils annotations and typed feedback. We have overcome hardware and wi-fi challenges by recording lessons for asynchronous learning and have been passing on our expertise to several local schools in the area. We have even invited Year 10 pupils from United Learning Academies into our virtual classrooms.
With children ranging from age 4-11, teaching methods in the Junior School are age specific. Our older pupils have the majority of their lessons ‘live’ taught via Microsoft Teams, whilst making use of Showbie and more. Our youngest pupils (Reception – Year 1) are now back at school in the classroom. Before this was possible, they could not take part in ‘live’ lessons but instead used a range of GHS-made YouTube videos, pre-recorded PowerPoints and specific work sheets at home.
There are at least two assemblies per week in the Junior School which are recorded by a variety of staff. This helps to add to the pastoral care given by form teachers during PSHE lessons, registration and form time.
Moving to remote learning does not mean that our pupils and staff feel disconnected. At times like this it is more important than ever that our pupils feel the warmth of their community, have strong pastoral support and continue to be encouraged to pursue interests and passions outside of the classroom.
“You have continued to take such good care of the girls and kept them so positive, as well as helping them to take all of these daily sweeping changes in their stride.” GHS PARENT
At Guildford High School, our pupils are fortunate enough to receive an extraordinarily high level of pastoral care. Moving to an online platform has not changed this but has simply altered the way it is delivered. Assemblies are still being held, tutor groups still meet so that tutors can check on progress, trouble-shoot issues and provide a familiar and reassuring contact with their tutees throughout the week and one to one pastoral support is still there for those who need it.
In the Senior School our ASPIRE programme (Agency, Safety, Positivity, Inclusivity, Relationships and Economy) continues and focuses on the happiness and wellbeing of all pupils. To ensure it is always targeted, ASPIRE constantly adapts to meet the changing needs of our pupils, reacting to social trends and equipping pupils with the skills they need now, and in the future, to make informed, safe and healthy choices. Our current focus has been on ‘Mind, Body and Soul’.
The wellbeing of our pupils is of paramount importance and we are more than alert to the risks associated with social isolation. Pupils miss each other and their teachers but we have found ways to connect and come together as a community whether that is through virtual singing of the school hymn, quarantine challenges e.g. NHS 5k or form time competitions. There has also been an overwhelming air of pleasure and gratitude in pupils seeing one another and teachers (sometimes their pets too!) through form time calls on Microsoft Teams!