I’m writing to send you my best wishes at the end of a very different half term at Kingsley School.
Thinking back to where we were at the end of the previous half term in March who would have believed that so much could change.
You may have seen the post on the school’s Facebook page sharing the news reported by Channel Four.  This news is that only 3% of state schools and 25% of independent schools are making a timetabled online offer to their children.  I’m immensely pleased and proud that Kingsley is in that small minority, and that our children are being so well served.

I’m writing this on International Thank a Teacher Day, and I would like to focus my comments to the teaching staff at Kingsley.

When we first suggested the idea of delivering online lessons to our students many of the staff here went through a very understandable range of reactions.  Most of us (myself included) had never heard of Zoom, let alone contemplated the idea of delivering learning to groups of young people with it.  There were anxieties about the technology, as well as concerns about how we would present ourselves in such a different environment.  Most teachers laugh and chat with classes, and learning happens through questions and little asides – how on earth do you establish that rapport via a computer screen?

We used the time around the start of the lockdown to learn how to use the technology and plan the learning for this term.  Ideas and tips were shared, with a fair amount of laughter and frustration along the way.  When this term started there were some hiccups, but we have delivered something which is better than most other schools in the country have managed.  I am in awe of the teachers at Kingsley School, and I know, from the many comments we have received, that parents are equally impressed and grateful.

I don’t want to single out any particular teacher, as I know that everyone has done a superb job in delivering the online learning, but I am very aware of the creativity that has been shown by our teachers.  The willingness to take a risk with this new style of teaching has enabled everything from ‘live action story time’ in early years to ‘preparation for university’ for our Sixth Formers.  Thank you, Kingsley teachers – you are phenomenal!

We are now planning to start opening up the school again.  While we would all love to throw open the doors and welcome back the children and young people, we obviously can’t.  The school has put in place very detailed plans, including a system for social distancing, with coloured strips on the floor and a one-way system on corridors.  Parents of children in the prep school who are coming back on 1st June have already had detailed arrangements for their children, and I would ask parents to keep strictly to those instructions, including the provision for drop off and collection of their children.

We are very much hoping to be able to bring our boarders back for September.  We are currently finalising arrangements for arrivals on very specific days in August with a quarantine arrangement in place for 14 days before the start of term in September.  Other arrangements to keep us all safe will be communicated with you nearer the time, but it is very likely that everyone in the senior school will be asked to wear masks etc, and movement around the building will be very much reduced.

I do hope you have a very good half term break and continue to stay safe and well.

With my very best wishes

Gill Jackson

head@kingsleyschoolbideford.co.uk