Head: Mr Phillip Stapleton
It is now almost a week since the school was forced to close its doors to most of its students, following the government’s strict instructions in light of the Coronavirus crisis. During that time we have instigated a successful online home learning programme and put in place a support for our key workers, with a pledge to keep this support going throughout the Easter holidays.
Despite all the hard work and short turnaround times, the feedback from our parents has been overwhelmingly positive, with many emailing and writing in with their kind comments and words of encouragement.
During these unprecedented times, plans were put in place within a matter of days and staff were trained up on the new distance learning platform and were then asked to ensure that their students were also up to speed in time for the government to order schools to close around the country.
Parents have been very quick to praise the speed with which the staff responded:
“I just wanted to say thank you to everyone at WBS for working so tirelessly in light of the virus.”
“Thank you for all the plans you have already put in place.”
“I just wanted to send a big thank you, to you and all your staff (including the IT team), for all the hard work you have been doing to prepare the children for a school closure. The communication that we have been receiving is amazing and we really appreciate it.”
The distance learning platform, which was due to be introduced over a period of time in the next year or so, had to be implemented within days. Our IT staff and Senior Leadership Team worked around the clock to ensure that all staff were familiarised with the new, interactive, software and that all the students were confident to use it.
The platform means that children are able, as near as possible, to follow their normal timetable of lessons, with breaktimes and lunch breaks, to ensure they maintain a familiar routine during this difficult time.
After only a few days, the response has been overwhelming:
“The creativeness and interaction from all her lessons today have been great!”
“Today has gone incredibly well – just like being at school, but at home! I feel incredibly lucky that the girls are at West Buck.”
“Thank you for such an excellent response to such a terrible time.”
“The school has been so quick to adapt and it has been a joy to watch the infectious positivity and patience of all her fabulous teachers.”
In response to the government’s pledge to support key and frontline workers, the school has welcomed a number of key worker children this week. As well as participating in their normal timetabled lessons, along with their peers, they have been taking part in a range of activities under the watchful eye of our PE staff.
To make things as easy as possible, we have been running a pick up and drop off service for these children from the hospital in Barnstaple, which has proved popular:
“Please could I thank the minibus driver this morning. He was early, was happy to be there and should be commended.”
It is impossible to overestimate how appreciative the staff are for the amazingly supportive comments that have been received. Here are just a few more:
“You’re all doing an incredible job.”
“Hugely appreciate the effort that has gone into making this happen.”
“I haven’t heard of any other schools that have done anything like as well to keep the show on the road.”
“Thank you very much for your huge efforts, really commendable.”
None of the above could be possible without the wholehearted support from our parents and carers. It is one thing to put in place an extremely comprehensive learning platform, but quite another to ask parents to encourage their children to show the discipline and will to take an active participation.
The success of the home learning has been largely due to this positive support from parents and, for that, the school is enormously grateful.