Despite lockdown, 94% of Prep pupils have progressed well or better than expected during online learning

At West Buckland Prep School, robust assessment and tracking of pupils has always been central to children’s learning, allowing the school to clearly understand the impact of this Covid year. From the start of this academic year, 94% of WBS Prep pupils have achieved progess in the expected, higher or much higher than expected categories, compared to the national average of 75% within a normal year.

Keeping a routine is the cornerstone of progress

During the many challenges of this past twelve months, the school focused on maintaining the children’s learning structure by sticking to their normal daily timetable via live Teams lessons with their teachers. From the beginning of school closures last March, the school provided real-time lessons to all its pupils from Reception to Year 6 in maths, English, science, humanities, languages, philosophy and religion, music, IT and PE. This ensured that those important relationships between classmates and teachers remained strong.

Maintaining community while learning online

In addition, in the knowledge that children’s welfare was of huge importance during this time of anxiety and separation, the school ran a number of ‘Bingo lockdown challenges’, focusing on non-screen time activities, such as art, den building and sports skills, which encouraged children to win points for their house and therefore maintain a feeling of community.

The results have pleased Prep Headmaster, Nick Robinson, immensely. “These results can reassure parents that press headlines about attainment gaps need to be treated with caution. Additionally, the reassurances provided by the assessment results means that the school has been able to focus on pupil wellbeing, by settling them back into school routines and relationships within the community. Instead of using negative language such as ‘catching up’ and ‘lost learning’, we’ve been pleased to focus on the progress that they have made and the many positives that have sprung from this challenging time, which include enhanced IT skills and adaptability.”