One of Suffolk’s leading schools is expanding its term time to allow students to stay on top of their schoolwork and is aiming to exceed past results, thanks to the creation of a unique online learning programme during lockdown.
Saint Felix School in Southwold is staying open a week longer into the Summer holidays and, subject to government guidelines, plans to open two weeks early in August for overseas students to return safely.
The decision has been taken following consultation with students and their families, after 93% of them agreed that they had made progress thanks to the bespoke distant learning the school put into practice from March. Pupils have all received live lessons, delivered across the UK as well as to overseas students in China, Tanzania, Germany and Russia.
This learning programme has been delivered on a bespoke secure platform, which has meant that live lessons have been delivered across the board, from ages 8 to 18. The senior leadership team had specific training throughout the Easter holidays in order to effectively deliver the lessons and teachers have spent weekends delivering kits such as science packs and books to the homes of their pupils. Headmaster James Harrison says: “As soon as it was clear we had to close, our priority was to replicate the learning experience at home. The key was always going to be using the skills of our teaching staff and I have been overwhelmed with their dedication and the results. Most of our students live locally, but we have had lessons involving students from all over the world happening in real time, thanks to our early use of safe and secure technology.”
Pupils have received up to four online lessons per day in Maths, English, Languages, Science, PE, History, Geography, Art, Photography, Music, RE, Classics, Psychology – as well as assemblies, chapel services and pastoral time with their tutors. The lessons are fully interactive and all pupils can be seen and heard. Parents have praised the programme for developing their children’s confidence and communication skills as well as enabling them all to keep up with their levels of learning, as one enthusiastic parent said: “The remote learning from Saint Felix has worked very well as my daughter is able to focus, finish all assignments which are set and has the time to produce quality pieces of work set by her teachers. This in turn has enabled her to become more confident. It is great that she can see and interact with all her friends too.”*
Concludes James: “The education and wellbeing of our students is always paramount, so the extra time at the end of the Summer term will ensure everyone enters the holidays exactly where they would have been in their learning journey – while our August opening for overseas students means we can open in line with government guidelines in September. We are prepared for any eventuality including a second lockdown should the unthinkable happen.”
* Based on an online survey of students and families across year groups 7 – 12
Saint Felix School is an independent co-educational day and boarding school for children aged from two – 18, established over 120 years ago and located close to the seaside town of Southwold on the Suffolk coast.
The school has the best performance results and progress in Suffolk for A Levels and GCSE’s (source: https://www.compare-school-performance.service.gov.uk/schools-by-type?step=default&table=schools®ion=935&la-name=suffolk&geographic=la&for=16to18