Lessons in home schooling from Hampshire schools

Hampshire schools have been working creatively and innovatively to minimise the impact of having to close, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, on their students’ education

Apr 27 2020

Schools have developed and delivered home learning packs, kept timetables of lessons running virtually online and incorporated fun and engaging learning activities for children and young people to do at home.

Councillor Roz Chadd, the County Council’s Executive Member for Education and Skills, said: “Distance learning has taken on a whole new meaning for me. I have been so impressed with the ingenuity and resourcefulness of schools all over the county in maintaining an interesting curriculum of learning, both at primary and secondary level, for the majority of children and young people who are undertaking their school work at home while we live through lockdown conditions.”

Many secondary schools have been operating an amended timetable, building in essential wellbeing breaks and whole class lessons via apps such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom. The approach at Fernhill School and Language College in Farnborough, for example, has been for the school day to start with 30 minutes of physical exercise at 9am, such as the Joe Wicks’ PE workout – followed by a slot for breakfast from 9.30 to 10am and then four, 45 minute lessons using Google Classroom, with a break in between each lesson.

Headteacher, Mark Kingswood, explained: “We do not believe it is critically important or remotely realistic for students to be working at the same pace that’s expected at school, without a trained teacher to guide them in the physical classroom environment. We are looking to achieve quality over quantity for physical and mental health reasons. This is about keeping them ‘ticking over’ and sharp; trying to cover enough content so we are not trying to play too much catch up when schools are open and return to normal.”

The school purchased 60 laptops which can be loaned or rented/purchased from the school. While work on paper can still be provided, their aim is for all students and families to be online. Mr Kingswood added: “We have particularly sought to support those who have special educational needs (SEN) and those families whose needs are the most critical so that they have the same access as other students. Students can ask questions about work on a stream visible to their teacher and classmates, so everyone benefits from these interactions, socially and academically.”

Park Gate Primary School in Fareham has set up a daily blog for children in every year group. These are beautifully presented and set out exciting tasks for the children to do at home. The school are keeping in touch with children and have set up a Facebook page where children can share their work with their teachers and classmates.

Headteacher, Lindsay McCarthy commented: “It’s very important to our school that we set tasks that are practical and engage the children in learning activities. We are very keen to make our learning activities enjoyable so that both children and adults look forward to them. We deliberately chose a daily blog so that we keep in touch with our children regularly and that enables us to break down the activities into manageable chunks that don’t overwhelm children or parents."

The government is clear in its guidance (Supporting your children's education during coronavirus) in that parents are not expected to act as teachers, or to provide the activities and feedback that a school or nursery would but should do their best to help children and support their learning.  Information and help for parents and carers is available online including: