Displays of togetherness and versatility aplenty in a historic first digital day of Berkhamsted School
When the school values were established in 2016 by staff, students and stakeholders, who would have thought that we could have been faced with a challenge such as the Coronavirus (Covid-19).
“Aim high with integrity, Be adventurous and Serve others” could not be a more appropriate reflection of the way the school community has rallied together in the days before the school sites closed their doors under the direction of the Government.
— Rob Filistad (@robfilistad) March 23, 2020
During the reign of King Henry VIII, a Royal Charter was granted for the creation of Berkhamsted School. It was exactly 476 years ago today when John Incent, The Dean of St Paul’s, officially opened the first school building, now known as Old Hall. Today (Monday 23 March 2020) we operated a full school day entirely as a digital school. The progress would be unimaginable to our first pupils, but our ethos and sense of community remains much the same.
Togetherness whilst learning remotely
On the first day of the school sites closure, it’s apparent that the combined efforts of parents, pupils and staff have made the continuation of learning possible for all ages.
In the words of our Patron Her Majesty The Queen, taken from her latest message, we shall “work as one, concentrating our combined efforts with a focus on the common goal.”
Our school Chaplain Jane Markby and Assistant Chaplain Olivia Davies addressed the Senior School via a video for the first time. Their engaging chapel service contained thoughtful messages for all to reflect upon during this uncertain time.
The chaplaincy team also informed us that their emergency appeal to support DENS foodbank on the last day of school resulted in a collection of over 200kg of tinned and dried goods to help those most in need during this crisis. A thank you to all for helping others in our wider community by participating in this collection.
Students collecting for DENS foodbank pic.twitter.com/pXBSQh02Ea
— Berkhamsted Chapel (@BerkoChaplaincy) March 20, 2020
Excellent technology and versatile users
Berkhamsted’s roll out of Microsoft Surface Digital Devices to teaching staff and Senior School pupils saw everyone embrace new technology in the classrooms using new techniques and ways to engage with teachers and classmates. The events of the last few weeks has meant the realisation that learning as we knew it was going to change. Staff have embraced this and developed a way in which the devices and the use of Microsoft Teams could move Berkhamsted to a ‘Digital School’.
With #MicrosoftTeams and the implementation @surface technology, parents are reporting how effective the transition to #homeschooling has been. Huge credit to our IT staff, teaching staff, pupils and parents for embracing the technology. pic.twitter.com/jpHzeAOssA
— Berkhamsted School (@berkhamstedsch) March 23, 2020
Today, the vision of this transition to home schooling was tested. Our families have committed to helping the Berkhamsted Schools Group to make this work and whilst it was never expected to be 100% flawless, the undertaking of working in this way along with the gratitude and positivity amongst our community has been over whelming.
One parent said “A seamless transition to an unprecedented situation. Hats off to all staff for their hard work, regular communications and advanced planning – it has really paid off, thank you.”
97% of secondary age pupils are attending school on line at @berkhamstedsch today. Remarkable aspiration and industry from the pupils! And teachers!
— Richard Backhouse (@RPBackhouse) March 23, 2020
Another posted “I have been so impressed with the online learning this morning. My Year 7 son has totally been engaged. As someone said previously it is good for the boys to have some normality in an uncertain situation. Thank you Berkhamsted and all the staff”
Outstanding provisions – so far these three have had Maths, Drama, Food tech and a flute lesson all successfully delivered by your amazing team. Thankyou Berko! pic.twitter.com/5tUoX4wz5q
— Charlotte blackburn (@Charlesblac) March 23, 2020
Music, Drama, Food technology and all subjects
Jamie Hornshaw, Headteacher of Berkhamsted Prep said “It’s been fascinating being able to watch through the window of every one of our 18 classrooms in Year 3-6 from the comfort of my home working space. The children and staff are all logged in to Microsoft Teams and following their timetables as closely as possible. A Year 4 class has just been sent outside to complete a daily physical challenge to break up their morning, whilst music, drama, food technology and other subjects are carrying on across the school. Staff are mixing their approaches up with recorded lesson introductions and ‘live’ streams; the children are interacting through class chats and appear very excited and upbeat about their new school way or working. I even posted my weekly assembly video to each class, wishing a happy birthday to children this week.”
Our parent partnership has been amazing, and we look forward to continuing our development and learning through to the end of term. Thank you to all who have made this happen. #TeamBerko