More than seven weeks into home schooling, we hope all our readers are holding up in their new combined roles of teacher, referee, pastoral mentor, children’s entertainer and canteen worker. The majority of us still don’t know when our children will return to school, so our advice is to accept the current situation as the ‘new normal’ and keep going as best you can, taking care not to be too hard on yourself or your offspring.
Most schools seem to have settled well into delivering remote learning for pupils and of course academic study is what school is all about…or is it? Whilst we’re hearing fewer and fewer grumbles about academic matters, what really seems to be setting some schools apart is how they maintain the crucial sense of community that defines a great school’s character. Engaging pupils in school life in a broader sense while they are learning remotely is key to keeping spirits up. We take a look at some of the things schools are doing to achieve this – and offer some tips for any who are seeking inspiration.
If you’re in the process of looking for a new school for your child, you might be feeling rather frustrated that all the Spring open days you were hoping to attend have been cancelled. Fear not, though, we are entering the age of the virtual open day. We let you know how to get the most out of these online showcases and what you should expect. While you’re marveling at the flawless images they present, keep a copy of The Good Schools Guide to hand – or check out the reviews on our website – we’ve visited all Good Schools Guide schools in person, interviewed parents and children and know exactly what it’s really like behind the glossy prospectus. And if you’re considering boarding, look out for our new boarding schools book, available to pre-order on [http://www.goodschoolsguide.co.uk/shop] with delivery from early June. With over 350 reviews of preps, independent and state boarding schools in our trademark style, it’s an essential resource to use alongside your virtual open days.
Meanwhile, if you’re at home with a child with SEN, you’ll be facing a whole set of different daily challenges. Our SEN editor offers some insights on how best to keep things positive, as well as some resources you might find helpful. And our home schooling expert has some pearls of wisdom for those of you who now feel that your children may thrive better in the long term learning at home and are considering not sending them back to school at all.
We hope you enjoy this month’s newsletter. If you have any feedback, or a question for a future Ask the Experts column, please contact us direct at [email protected].
In the meantime, wishing you and your families all the very best.
The Good Schools Guide team
What’s your school doing to prevent the effects of isolation during lockdown?
‘Working from home’ has taken on a whole new meaning in recent weeks. With entire families attempting to follow multiple daily routines under the same roof, children and their parents are missing the normality of heading out each day to join their own familiar school or work communities. Heads and teachers are working round the clock to deliver home school timetables (schools, we applaud you), but is it the three Rs that children need right now to keep them on track or does a successful return to ‘normal’ rely on maintaining a sense of community while remote learning is taking place? We take a look at what schools can do now to keep families engaged. Read more: www.goodschoolsguide.co.uk/digital-media/blog/is-this-what-your-school-is-missing
Virtual reality: how to make the most of the ‘new normal’ when it comes to choosing a school’
With school gates firmly closed to visitors, prospective pupils and their parents need to find new ways of getting to know schools before making an informed decision. But in the middle of the Covid-19 lockdown how can you replicate that ‘gut feel’ experience of visiting a school? The experts at The Good Schools Guide have some tips to get you on the right track. Read more:
Special times for special needs
Over seven weeks into lockdown, even the most saintly of parents with wholly straightforward children are likely to be feeling the strain of home schooling whilst juggling jobs, housework and (constant) meal provision for the hungry troops. For families with children who have special educational needs, the pressures of a break in the usual routine may be palpable. The Good Schools Guide SEN editor looks at ways to ease the strain and where to go for help if you need further support. Read more: www.goodschoolsguide.co.uk/digital-media/blog/special-times-for-special-needs
The Good Schools Guide: Boarding Schools
Our new book containing all the latest information plus our trademark candid reviews of more than 350 of the UK's leading boarding schools...available in early June, pre-order now!
☑ More than 360 schools for children aged between 7-18
☑ Preps, independent secondaries and state boarding schools
☑ Academic and money matters
☑ Head teacher profiles
☑ Pastoral care, well-being and atmosphere
☑ Extra-curricular activities, games, the arts
☑Entrance and exit information
Price: £30 +p&p
Available now, go to www.goodschoolsguide.co.uk/bookshop
Thinking about continuing home-schooling post Covid lockdown?
In this edition our experts have words of advice for a parent who stuck their head above the parapet to admit that home schooling has been a positive experience for their child. We imagine that there might be quite a few parents out there who have noticed their children coming on in leaps and bounds as a result of being out of the classroom environment. Might keeping their child at home when schools eventually return be the best choice for the child and family? Read more: www.goodschoolsguide.co.uk/digital-media/blog/ask-our-experts-may-2020
Need support with schooling decisions?
We recognise that everyone has experienced huge change this Spring. If coronavirus has had an impact on any of your schooling decisions and you need support, guidance and advice, we are here to help. Please call 0800 368 7694 / 0203 286 6824 or email [email protected].