The Walhampton News
Walhampton is a busy pre-prep and prep school within Hampshire. Our news archive features all of our current and old news, announcements and celebrations dating back to 2013.
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It’s business as (almost) usual for Walhampton in September 2020
By Titus Mills, Headmaster
Before we know it, we will be starting the beginning of the new academic year. Plans are almost finalised for our return to school in September and Walhampton is aiming to get as close to normal as we possibly can whilst ensuring that essential safety measures are in place.
We can’t wait to have the children back at school, filling the buildings and grounds with laughter and learning, as well as welcoming our 50 new starters.
Our robust remote learning programme in the summer term means that we already have a good sense of where the children are with their learning. All through April to July, staff provided pre-planned, recorded lessons for the children to do when it was convenient for them and their parents. These were supported by regular live Zoom sessions with teachers and tutors to ensure the children were able to ask questions, keep motivated and see their friends.
As our dedicated staff were marking assignments and feedbacking back to the children throughout the summer term, we were able to continually assess their progress. We will also be spending some time at the beginning of September working with the children to understand where they are and identify any gaps that need to be filled.
The children’s wellbeing is at the heart of all we do so our wonderful staff were also working hard to support our families, who we knew were all under increased pressure at this unprecedented time. We understood the varying challenges each family faced as we adjusted to working remotely and wanted to help parents keep their children safe physically and mentally.
Just some examples of how our pastoral team reached out include: our librarian developing a website with ideas to boost wellbeing for the children to access when they needed, our Assistant Boarding Parent doing two live radio shows every week day to keep the school community connected and regular assemblies for the Prep and Pre-Prep pupils providing reassuring inspiration each week. We are now ready to help the children settle back in to school in September.
It was an unexpected benefit that many parents felt a much deeper connection with their children’s education. Here are just a few of the many comments we received during last term:
“You have made the remote learning a completely wonderful and super fun experience for both my daughter and I.”
“You have made remote learning fun and engaging.”
“Walhampton has set the bar high and remains a school that we are proud to send our daughters to.”
“Everyone at Walhampton has been just fantastic throughout all of this, never failing to do the utmost for all of us.”
“Walhampton’s thoroughly informative, diverse and productive experience of home learning has given us an invaluable insight into the broad range of learning covered.”
“When your children dance around the room for joy as you tell them they get to go back to school, it shows there is something very special about the place.”
“The flexibility that the Walhampton remote learning timetable gives us has been invaluable in allowing me to support my daughter.”
“Stag Radio is amazing and really helping to hold the whole school community together.”
From September, the Government’s guidelines for schools are clear that each school should make arrangements to suit their own individual settings and systems, whilst following the principle of reducing the occasions for contact with multiple people.
Walhampton is keen to maintain our usual broad education and we will be able to take full advantage of our small class sizes and abundance of space. We will be creating Year group ‘bubbles’ so that children can continue to work in small groups that reflect their ability in the core subjects.
One of the changes we are making is that all children, including the higher year groups, will stay in one classroom for most of their lessons and specialist teachers will come to them, rather than the other way around. There are some exceptions for subjects where specialist equipment is required, and these classrooms and the equipment will have rigorous hygiene and safety measures in place.
We are also making adjustments to the timetable so that break and meal times can be staggered. Children will also be wearing sports kit on the days when they have PE lessons or team matches to avoid clustering in the changing rooms.
We are keen to continue to provide afterschool activities for the children to help parents with their work commitments and ensure the children can enjoy an array of opportunities. Whilst we’ve had to make some changes to the structure to ensure that they are run in Year groups, we have been able to plan a broad range of stimulating and fun activities.
More details about what the Autumn term will look like will be sent to parents in the coming weeks but rest assured that we are striving for a full and varied education, whilst ensuring we have robust safety measures in place.
Please click here for more information about our COVID Safe Boarding School