Educating for the Future
07 April 2020
From the Master Julian JeffreyDear parents Welcome to the first edition of the Week Ahead for April. Signs of spring are bursting out all over the city and I hope that you and your child are able to enjoy the fresh air and warmer temperatures more these days. As you will be well aware, getting exercise during this recent turbulent time has not always been easy, so I would urge you now to take the chance to reacquaint yourselves with the city and its lovely open spaces. As over the course of the past few weeks, I felt it best to try and offer some general information about the school in my column, rather than specifically look ahead to the events of the next seven days. Reopening date As with so many of you, I was hopeful of some positive news on this front from the authorities this week, but sadly, another Monday came and went without a clear date for the physical reopening of the school. Ensuring the safety of our pupils is, of course, at the heart of all that we do and the cautious approach taken by the officials here in Tianjin is to be applauded. As a result, once the school does receive permission to open its doors, you can be confident that your child will be back once more in a safe and nurturing environment. Online teaching / learning There was a great response to the recent e-learning survey, with feedback from parents across the school. The comments and suggestions will all go into an action plan, drafted by the heads of school, and where possible, these will be reflected in the ongoing provision of e-learning. As ever, though, please do not wait for formal surveys to provide your thoughts and feedback: I am always open to ideas via email, so please do keep the channels of communication busy! Public Examinations for May / June 2020 As you will be aware by now, all public examinations have been cancelled this summer. Universities and examination boards have assured us that candidates will not be adversely impacted by this decision, but the news from the UK is that they are still to finalise the exact nature of the replacement grading process. Once the examination boards publish this information, we will of course pass on the details to pupils and parents. Teaching for examination year groups continues uninterrupted, though, and all pupils in Years 11-13 are expected to attend all their online lessons as normal. Parent meetings in the Summer Term Open dialogue between school and home is a highly prized part of our work here at Wellington. As such, we have reviewed the dates for parent meetings and are drafting some important changes to those dates previously published in the Lent Term diary. Details of the revised parent evenings for all sections of the school, as well as the restored Meet the Master slot (1400-1515hrs, Thursdays) and dates for the forthcoming assessment periods will be published next week. The parent meetings, at least for the foreseeable future, will be online and based on an appointment system, but they will be accessible to all our families. Pupil wellbeing I have written a great deal about our concerns for the wellbeing and mental health of our community throughout this unprecedented hiatus in the life of their school. Much work has been going on behind the scenes across the Wellington College China group, under the leadership of Mr Roundell, to ensure that we respond to the needs of our pupils in a timely and effective manner. Some of the initial measures, as well as the key results of the pupil survey, are outlined by Mr Roundell (below), but the broader plan will include a comprehensive care programme for all pupils, published well before the physical reopening of the school is approved. Good mental health is a key component in successful learning, and I know Mr Roundell and his colleagues across the WCC group would welcome parental feedback and insights to help in their work. He can be reached via email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Finally, a reminder that Monday sees a public holiday with the Qingming Festival. E-learning will be suspended for the day. Best wishes Julian Jeffrey MASTER FROM MR ROUNDELL, PASTORAL AND SAFEGUARDING LEAD Pupil Wellbeing Survey Mr Jeffrey wrote two weeks ago about the importance of wellbeing and support and the initiatives that were being put in place to help students in their e-learning and their transition back to school. This includes the institution of a wellbeing response team that draws expertise from across the group and a localized team to address pupils’ needs across the age phases. Last week, students from Year 5 and up completed a wellbeing questionnaire. We had a 75% response rate which in the current circumstances is excellent. The aim of the questionnaire was to establish an understanding of your child’s levels of happiness, engagement, and general physical and mental levels of wellbeing. The main headlines are:
- 40% of Senior School pupils and 50% of Year 5-6 pupils want to speak with a teacher about their feelings. This is very positive as it underlines how much Wellington students value their interactions with their teachers. Housemasters, class teachers and school counsellors are now contacting all students who have indicated they would like to talk and will offer them scheduled sessions either in a one-on-one capacity or in a small group according to the pupil’s preference.
- Year 5-6 pupils are generally happy with an average happiness rank of 8/10.Senior pupils averaged 7/10 which probably reflects a deeper understanding of the reality of the times we are now living in. We will track happiness ranks in the coming weeks and months as a way to help inform initiatives in the future.
- Motivation in Year 5-6 pupils and senior pupils is good (7/10).This suggests that under the current conditions, pupils continue to be hungry to learn and are responding positively to Wellington’s e-learning provision.
- Finally, about 47% of pupils are rarely or never leaving their apartments. Obviously, a number of factors play into these figures. However, our advice is as follows; If you are able to, we encourage you to get outside and get moving, though you must ensure you follow the guidelines set in accordance to your location and personal situation - i.e. wearing a mask, keeping a distance from others (2m) and removing coats and shoes, before immediately washing your hands, when you return home. For those who are unable to leave their homes, you are encouraged to do some physical activity at least once a day. The PE department have posted many exercises on TEAMS and there are many online videos/classes/tutorials that you can follow, so take a look online.
- Where possible, pupils should undertake any lessons in a public space in their house and not their bedroom.
- The room should be free from distractions and the rest of the family should be aware that a lesson is taking place to avoid loud or embarrassing interruptions.
- Pupils should be dressed appropriately (as should everyone else in the household.)
- Live lessons will occur as per normal timetabled lessons.
- Tutorials may take place but between 0900hrs-1700hrs only. If a one-to-one interaction is taking place, the member of staff will inform the College Designated Safeguarding Lead that this is the case.
- Classroom standard behaviour is expected from all participants.
- All lessons will be recorded by staff and the video will be made available to the pupil's of the class following the live broadcast. These recordings will be made available to you via MS Stream.
- Pupils should not record the lesson. Pupils should not share the video of the lesson with anyone without having received express permission from the member of staff taking the lesson. Any breach will invoke a disciplinary response in line with the College AUP.
Clay's Easter Eggs
Jasmine's Easter EggsFROM MS HAYHURST, YEAR 5 Maths E-learning in the Junior School In the Junior School, even under difficult circumstances, this E-learning period has provided the children with the opportunity to develop their independence hugely. It is evident that the children are now aware of the strategies they can use when they find something difficult; they can self-assess their own understanding on a topic and therefore can challenge themselves appropriately. This level of independence will impact greatly on their learning both in and out of the classroom in the future.
‘Think’, ‘explain’ and ‘solve’ task example for factors, multiples and prime numbers.All the Junior School teachers have been following the AET curriculum, just as they would in the classroom. This curriculum lends itself to differentiation as it provides children with a clear understanding of the topic at the start, using specific resources and visuals, that leads onto the children developing fluency and finally mastering the topic by solving word problems and complex investigations. The children also have an opportunity to complete fluency tasks appropriate for the year level above. Therefore, the children who are struggling with a concept can receive the guidance they need from using these resources and the children who require further challenges can do so through the mastery tasks. Another aspect of mastery that has been practised during this online learning period is children teaching each other both in English and in their own language. Research has shown that by mastering a task, children gain a deeper understanding, which means they are more likely to retain what they have learnt.
‘Show’ task example for ordering fractions.The Junior School teachers are continuously assessing the children, not just based on the work they are completing each day but are also ensuring that the end of topic and start of topic tests are being completed. These assessments are clearly showing the children’s excellent progress at this unprecedented time. As a school we have learnt more about e-learning than we ever imagined would be possible and we feel this learning will open doors to new opportunities for learning Maths in the classroom. However, we are constantly striving to improve our e-learning strategies to ensure the children enjoy Maths, feel motivated to exceed expectations and are challenged and supported.