At Solefield School, Sevenoaks, all our pupils participate fully in first-class lessons, whether they are at school or at home.
This term, pupils who have had to self-isolate or quarantine have been able to join live lessons from home via our webcams in every classroom. This has enabled them to follow all academic work and to contribute live to lessons. One teacher even sets up a laptop in his room on the pupil’s desk showing the face of the boy working at home! Pupils can listen to and join in activities, ask questions and see the teacher, the interactive board as well as other resources. They also, perhaps more importantly, are able to see and hear their classmates and friends, keeping that all-important contact and connection intact.
One parent wrote recently, ‘Thank you for the connected learning English lesson this morning, it was fantastic. Our son learnt a lot and loved being part of it’. Another parent reported that their son, who had had to self-isolate for 2 weeks, had missed no academic work in that time, thanks to the live lessons at home, although he had, of course, missed playing with his friends!
At Solefield, we constantly reflect upon and assess what we are doing, striving for improvements and working closely with parents and pupils to give the very best learning experience possible. We have an excellent academic reputation, given our proven results at 11+, ISEB Pre-test and Common Entrance, based largely on our promise to deliver a bespoke, engaging and challenging curriculum for every single child. A pupil being forced to work from home does not stop this. Our small size means that we can continue to work with each family in a unique and caring way, offering ‘in person’ contact and support.
At Solefield, our small size is our strength.
We have been keen to keep school as normal as possible for our pupils. Our lessons, clubs, music and sport have continued as normally as possible. Our Year 7 & 8 scholars are preparing for the Shakespeare Schools’ Festival with 11 of our 20 boys in Year 8 preparing for an academic, art, sport, music or drama scholarship examination. Whilst fixtures against other schools are impossible, our vertical Football Premier League has kept all pupils and staff engaged in and excited about weekly training and matches.
The wellbeing of our whole community is crucial to us at Solefield. Our Wellbeing Committee of teachers and senior pupils has set up Wellbeing Hubs, a Lego Therapy area and we now have a school counsellor as well as talk time offered to all pupils.
Should the school premises be ordered to close or a year group sent home, lessons will continue live immediately, following the school timetable with homework as normal and clubs, assemblies and activities online. Pupils will attend virtual school in their school uniform and measures will be taken to ensure that the pupils have time to chat, play games and interact with their friends as they would at break time. Parents and pupils will have very regular contact with teachers and the chance to speak to them whenever necessary.
So far this term, Solefield parents have had frequent updates from form teachers, including extended phone calls to discuss their child’s progress in all subjects and wellbeing. We have shared a virtual celebration of the World Day of Languages, Harvest Festival, Pre-Prep Open Afternoon, Future Schools talks and our whole school Open Day with parents. After half term, there will be virtual parents’ meetings with teachers, Coffee Mornings, a Pre-Prep Open Morning for prospective parents on 28th November (Click here to register), Christmas plays and the Shakespeare Schools’ Festival and a very carefully managed Christmas Fair and Carol Service which will, of course, be shared with all our community. Parents have the chance to speak to me in person every morning as they drop their children off and can, of course, book in live or virtual meetings with me or any of my team.
We don’t know what the future might hold but at Solefield we are ready to continue our excellent teaching and learning provision at school or at home.
We have taken on many new pupils in recent weeks but still have limited spaces available. Our Registrar, Mrs Barbara Volpato, will be happy to arrange a personal visit at a convenient time. Please contact Barbara on email@example.com or 01732 452 142.
Mrs Helen McClure