Distance Learning at Aldro
As Boris Johnson was announcing the need for a full lockdown in March 2020, the pupils and staff at Aldro were busy preparing to move to a new era where learning would take place from the home. Aldros ambitious plans involved real time tuition, initially for all academic subjects but then evolving to include the supporting subjects of PSHE, Drama, Music, Art, DT and PE. Throughout the whole of the lockdown period mentoring and monitoring of boys remained a priority, with all pupils being allocated a mentor who would check in with them, on a 1:1 basis and in small groups, to find out how they were coping with the strains and stresses of the national lockdown and the impact on them and their families.
The programme was reviewed, through regular consultation with the staff delivering the lessons and with questionnaires to parents to ensure that the delivery of lessons was of the highest quality.
In his April newsletter the Headmaster thanked the parents who contributed to the review by responding to the online form and stated that “We have been greatly heartened by the very significant expression of your support for our recent efforts. You have told us that you appreciated the structure of the day, believing that we got the balance of contact-time largely right, the face-to-face nature of the teaching and the ability to continue one-to-one lessons (including Music, Lamda, Learning Support and EAL). You also recognised the huge efforts of the teaching staff and their enthusiasm for the programme. The Mentoring Programme also seems to have received unanimous approval.
The programme for the Summer term lead to a new, improved version of the programme delivered in the Easter term and a special programme for the Form 8 boys for when they finished their scholarship or CE exams, (the latter took place in the week following half term) kept life as close to normal for the boys in their final year at Aldro.
The Sports Department was responsible for throwing out regular tasks to keep everyone active and the Schools social media accounts allowed for regular updates on progress with challenges such as ‘The Loo Roll Challenge’, ‘The Press Up challenge’, ‘The Aldro Cricket Series and even a virtual Sports Day. The whole Aldro family came together to in the response to the run, walk, cycle and swim the 702 miles from Aldro to John O-Groats in 23 hours with an actual achievement of travelling 1072.14 miles travelled together for #Aldroruntogether.
VE Day was celebrated with the challenge launched to all to:
· Decorate your workspace
· Dress Up
· Red, White and Blue
· 40s dress code
Resulting in some tremendous sights:
Regular ‘virtual assemblies’ via the Zoom platform helped the community to stay in touch with some amazing achievements by pupils and staff through the lockdown period with ‘Art of the Week’, ‘DT of the Week’, ‘Team member of the Week’ and a variety of Sports challenges and photographic competitions continuing to inspire all members of the community,
Some boys were inspired to tackle their own money raising challenges, with Rishi raising over £2000 by climbing the equivalent of Everest (8848 m) on the hill behind his house, Tom raising £1000 by running 2.6 miles for 10 days,
Boys took part in a range of challenges and competitions during this time, including the Walking with the Wounded Poetry Competition: with the final shortlist of 15 including 5 Aldro boys and the winning poem written by Henry Watts:
Rocco Whitehouse had a painting selected for exhibition as part of the The Young Artists’ Summer Show at the Royal Academy of Art
The Distance Learning Programme may now be fading from the memories of boys and staff, but the programme remains ready to be reinstated at an instance, should the need arise.
Some comments from grateful parents:
Thanks to the ‘incredible staff’!
Your staff are indeed incredible, we are so impressed and extremely proud of the school community today. I thought:
The Maths and English lessons were run very professionally (but in a supportive way)
The sheer determination by both [music teacher] and [our son] to carry on with their [music] session through a screen(!!!) was great to see
It was amazing to see just how well prepared [our son] and his friends were for the sessions.
Well done Team Aldro!
Given the fast moving circumstances, and challenges, I have to congratulate you and all the staff, on outstanding management & communication. Not just to parents but to the boys too. The result of which is that the boys are relaxed, (dare I say it, quite excited about home learning!) and there is no anxiety or worry about the circumstances we all find ourselves in. Coupled with most parents worries about work, businesses, income – let alone health and family members – I cannot tell you what a help and support this has been. So a huge thank you - and given recent What’s App messages between 5D, I think I speak on behalf of us all.
I just wanted to say a huge thank you to you and all the teachers involved in getting the online learning up and running. I am really appreciative of all the effort and time that has gone into planning these lessons. I know there is a lot that goes on we don’t see so please pass on my thanks.
Thank you for you and your team’s hard work this term, in what can only be described as trying circumstances. It seems to me that the school programme has been delivered in as seamless a fashion as possible with each new challenge being overcome whilst everyone has kept smiling. The team has done a wonderful job of keeping the boys calm in unprecedented circumstances. It all displays the wonderful spirit and values of the Aldro community. You all must be exhausted!
"I just wanted to say that you and your staff at Aldro are doing an absolutely fabulous job. Really well done to you and the team for setting such a high standard and for delivering on day 1. And yes, compared to other schools … the high standards you are setting with live lessons, checking in on the boys and the sports challenges are so far ahead".
I just wanted to congratulate yourself and the staff for the work put in thus far in keeping us well informed and for setting up so efficiently the home schooling system. [Our son] was well aware independently on how to navigate the systems and what he should be doing. I think it has given the older boys perhaps a sense of being in charge of their destinies in some way. The twitter feeds from the sports staff team have also provided some much needed light entertainment and for the boys to still see all their teachers.
Thank you very much for your email and thank you and the teachers for your hard work and brilliant organisation of the lessons. It’s a great opportunity for the boys to continue learning and to communicate – [our son] enjoyed his lessons today and all went very smoothly thanks to the great work of the teachers and Mr Alexander behind the scenes as I might guess.
Am very impressed with all the steps made by Aldro. I think it is an impressive system so thank you all at Aldro. It’s definitely very tricky times it’s so important that we all look after each other mentally and physically so I think this really helps.