Due to the unusual circumstances we find ourselves in, the need for a robust remote learning provision is more critical than ever. In the summer, the entire country was plunged into lockdown requiring the need for all pupils across the country to be educated from home, and once again this new year we find ourselves in the same situation where robust remote learning is vital.
Thankfully, Derby Grammar are well prepared, as we are able to switch to a completely remote schooling system, ensuring that we don’t rely on parents to teach. This system will remain in place for any future scenarios where it is needed.
With our remote learning, we aim to emulate as much of school as possible, to try and reduce disruption for our pupils. We are able to provide strong academic structure, pastoral care, and co curricular enrichment. As well as host whole school and house assemblies, and house competitions. Those who need them are provided with Chromebooks in order to access the remote working. We also provide technical support to parents and pupils as needed.
We ensure that the requirement on parents is as minimal as possible, using real-time teaching without relying on print outs, with specific subject teachers rather than week long projects to try and encapsulate numerous subjects. The individual subject lessons are able to be imaginative by using everyday objects you’d find around the home, in lessons such as maths and science. Pupils are also able to engage with sports lessons as part of their curriculum as normal, and are encouraged to pursue outdoor learning.
Primary School Remote Activities
Fully interactive remote learning is provided for all children in the Primary School when needed, from Reception to Year 6, reducing the input needed by parents and ensuring the ability to stick as close to their normal daily school routines as possible.
Although we aren’t able to offer a truly interactive experience for you to try here, in order to give a flavour of the Primary School remote learning, Mrs Monk provided a wonderful English activity for our Primary School Boys who joined us in September. Listen as she reads a fantastic story about the confusion caused with the animals on the ark!
Senior School Remote Activities
Our remote learning is able to be fully interactive, with pupil and teacher participation. However in order to give you a flavour of our remote learning, please see below some fun activities which were given to our Senior School Boys entering Year 7 prior to them joining us in September.
Why not ‘Get Groovy!’ and build your own Lava Lamp with Miss Walker:
‘Take Off!’ with Mr Lakritz in DT by making specially designed paper planes:
or join the ‘Dragons Den!’ with Mrs Watson in English:
“Thank you to all of the DGS team for the structure and support you’ve provided. Although he has missed spending time with his friends and being ‘at school’ our son feels it has worked well and has been motivated to see what each day brings work wise!
We have all enjoyed your e-assemblies and the reflection and discussion these have encouraged at home. I’m sure they will have helped steady many a ship this week as we all get used to our new routines.
Please pass our thanks on to everyone.”
Year 4 parent
Within the Primary School it was important to try and keep as much consistency in the daily routine of our Primary pupils as possible. Daily contact with pupils is held on Google Classroom, having daily registration in the morning, and then ongoing communication throughout the day to maintain progress checking and support. Weekly tutor group meetings are held on a Monday morning, using Teams. This means that pupils have the opportunity to informally interact with teachers, as well as socially interact with other pupils.
We provide live Teams lessons, which means that pupils are able to interact with staff in real-time. This is supported by work provided on Google Drive. Pupils have an electronic exercise book where they are able to type up their work. This is marked daily and children are given immediate feedback. Activities are made as practical as possible so that children have a mixture of digital and physical learning. This includes learning new skills such as weighing and measuring in maths.
Regular virtual workshops are set up for children who needed additional support and pupils are usually able to access these on a one to one basis.
We keep in regular communication with parents, and are contactable throughout the school day.
“It’s been amazing to see how quickly our son has settled and enjoying his online learning! Full credit and thanks to his teachers and DGS team who have been striving hard to ensure that the children are envisaging the school life virtually with interactive group learning and progressing in their education despite lockdown.”
Year 6 parent
“The Remote learning programme during lockdown was very efficient in the way it was all organised. Specifically the marking was quick and the work was always there by 9am everyday.
The lessons during the Remote Learning period were as well thought out and thought through as in the classroom.
The sport lessons were fun as we were sent fitness videos we could all enjoy.
In fact you could go up to most boys and ask them ‘ was it more challenging ‘, and they would probably say yes!
Year 6 pupil
The academic provision for pupils at Derby Grammar is of key importance, so work is provided each day, released at 9am, to follow their usual timetable.
The backbone of this is Microsoft Teams meetings, where work is provided in documents that are able to be accessed and assessed by staff in real time, allowing for real time feedback.
Multiple discussion groups for feedback are held. These take place pupil to teacher, but also pupil to pupil, as it is important to not lose the ability to interact with other pupils when creating work.
To continue consistency, pupils have their marked work back within 5 working days in order to help sustain as many in school routines as possible.
Alongside academia, enrichment opportunities and activities are also provided.
When heading into remote learning it is vital that the ways we would support the emotional wellbeing of our pupils is quickly established.
One of our strengths as a school is our sense of community, often likened to that of a family, and we know the need to replicate the pastoral support we offer on a daily basis in a virtual manner. Via Google Classroom we have set up virtual tutor groups which allows the Form Tutor to have daily contact with their tutees. Pupils are expected to register each morning by 9am. If they don’t, a follow up call home is made to ensure the pupil is well and doesn’t have any barriers to learning.
At least once a week tutors hold a live registration session with their tutees. A weekly pastoral letter and quiz is emailed to parents on a Friday to keep the sense of community going.
“When school had to do online learning I was currently in the process of moving to Derby Grammar. All my Derby Grammar teachers were very understanding, they arranged any meetings around my previous school’s timetable and were very helpful when it came to my work and deadlines. Overall I found online learning for Derby Grammar very useful, helpful and interesting. There were always people around to help when I got stuck not just academically but technology wise as well.”
Sixth Form pupil
During any remote learning experience, the School continues to offer Co-Curricular opportunities to pupils. During the last full lockdown, the annual House Competition was completed with two new virtual events.
The House Photograph Competition produced some tremendously artistic entries from pupils throughout the School and the House Comedy Competition saw pupils submitting imaginative entries, including sketches which pupils filmed and uploaded. Peripatetic instrumental lessons were delivered remotely throughout the summer and pupils continued to work towards achieving their Duke of Edinburgh Awards achieving success at Bronze, Silver and Gold level.
As part of the lockdown activities, DGS Creative joined together for a unique project. Pupils were asked to make an instrument utilising their DT skills, as well as their problem solving and initiative in order to find materials around the home. Next, they were asked to decorate their instrument in a certain art style, again using implements in the home. Finally, they were able to rehearse and eventually record their instrument.
This project was born from our Heads of Department in DT, Art, and Music, in order to ensure these subjects were still accessible whilst in lockdown.
The final product was then collated by our Head of Music, Mr Coley, who has created a masterpiece.