When lock-down started in March 2020, and schools were shut down for the majority of students, King Ecgbert School immediately leapt into 'virtual school' mode.
In the virtual school world, King Ecgbert School continus to deliver the normal curriculum through the normal timetable with as much teacher-student interaction as possible. Staff teams collaborate on Microsoft Teams and increasingly live lessons are happening there too. The school deliver tasks to students via a parent and student app on phones called EduLink One and divert students to online courses on their Moodle VLE as well as using ever more features of Office 365 from email up to video streaming and web conference tools to bring learners together. Electronic text books, classroom PowerPoints converted to videos with teach narration or delivered live and teachers recording how-to videos are all happening. Teacher CPD has also gone online: not just to help staff get up to speed with new ways of working but carry on existing work on assessment and literacy the school have been carrying out all year.
Disadvantaged children are a focus with school laptops sent home and plans afoot to expand the provision of hardware and connectivity into homes where needed. The pastoral team continue to care for vulnerable students logging all their work via the CPOMs online database.
The Headteacher, Paul Haigh, keeps a high profile driving forward his vision for the virtual school with regular YouTube addresses to staff, students and parents as well as chairing online meetings on Teams.
The school is proudly at the Heart of the growing Mercia Learning Trust where central services of IT, estates, payroll, HR, finance are all running from home based offices. Governance has gone virtual too with Trustees and local governing bodies continuing to support and hold the schools and Trust to account at this crucial time where decisions are being made rapidly. This Trust central team rolled out their own voucher scheme for free school meals before the Government scheme was ready- they have a can do attitude towards rapidly moving forwards on the issues the crisis is presenting.
Feedback from learners and parents is hugely positive but also the school understand they are learning how to work like this and it’s not all perfect. Getting workloads right for staff and students, learning how to give feedback and carry out assessments are all a work in progress but the Headteacher’s tone is encouraging, supportive and understanding so a team ethos supporting those are struggling is growing.