LVS Oxford pupils who are working towards attaining GCSEs in 2020 or 2021 have been congratulated for the way they have responded to the remote teaching and support measures put in place by the school’s teaching and therapy teams as a result of the school’s closure during lockdown.
Staff have been supporting Year 10, 11 and Sixth Form pupils working on GCSE maths, English language, English literature, combined science, history, drama and geography. This support has required a carefully balanced mix of teaching and wellbeing support due to the fact that, as a general rule, students who attend LVS Oxford, which caters for students with autism, are not expecting to undertake school work when they are at home.
As the 1st June deadline for 2020 GCSE evidence approaches, Louisa Allison-Bergin, LVS Oxford’s Head of School, reflects on the unexpected journey the school’s GCSE pupils, and their teachers, have been on since the school closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Louisa comments, “Back in March, as we prepared to transition to online learning, staff worked extremely hard to ensure that the support measures we put in place for teaching, learning and wellbeing would ensure that our GCSE students were not disadvantaged by the fact that face to face lessons would cease for a period of time. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all our GCSE students for the huge amount of work they have continued to put into their qualifications, adapting to change in a way that we have never had to ask them to do before. I’m extremely proud of all our students, but I think those who were expecting to sit exams this summer deserve a special mention as they had to swiftly adapt to new ways of working and producing evidence to ensure their GCSE studies remained on track during these unprecedented times.”
GCSE students have been supported in the following ways;
· Microsoft team lessons / assignments in line with their course requirements, following the school timetable, and bespoke to the students needs
· Laptops provided as needed by the school
· Regular and supportive feedback on all work done
· Ability to have dialogue with teachers via teams
· Phone calls & e-mails from teachers and the therapy team
· Workbooks provided as required
· Other online platforms – mymaths / Eedi / Education perfect / Seneca learning used for variety
· Support with planning time and prioritisation as needed to reduce anxiety, weekly phone calls for some by tutors to support with this key skill
· Support by therapy team on anxiety management and executive functioning skills
Madeleine, a Yr 10 student comments, “It’s not been difficult mostly, other than needing help a few times or if I’d rather have an actual school lesson in real life. I’ve been more productive around the family however, which seems good.”
The parent of another Yr 10 student adds, “We are very pleased with Daniel and how he is keeping on top of his school work, not once have we had to ask him to get on with his work he sets his own plan for the week… at first he was asking me to type it up while he dictated it to me but now he types it all up by himself.”
Supporting GCSE English students
Kerry Angus, LVS Oxford’s English and Drama Teacher, explains, “I have focused on maintaining a routine of regular lessons, keeping the learning alive with interesting topics that will engage and spark the students’ imaginations. Learning can be an escape from the boredom or whatever the students might be facing at home. I give them regular feedback on the work they produce which includes encouragement and areas they can improve on but also celebrating the excellent effort some of them are putting in. It has also been vital to maintain my relationship with each pupil either through the chat line or through phone calls and this can range from light hearted banter to listening to their worries and anxieties and offering individual coping strategies.”
Supporting our GCSE Maths students
Neil Barker, LVS Oxford’s Maths and Music Teacher, explains, “We are currently using three different online platforms: MyMaths – which is ideal for the understanding of specific topics with built-in stage by stage online lessons combined with a two stage homework task, one covering the fundamentals and one looking at the topic in a deeper or more applied way. Eedi – which is a really helpful site providing ‘diagnostic questions’ – questions with four responses, one correct and three that are those which would be obtained using a common misconception. DrFrostMaths – which is our latest addition covering GCSE exam style questions. In addition to the immediate feedback our students are receiving from these platforms, our flexible Teams system means that throughout each day students can ask me questions and I can provide additional help as required, using for example a narrated PowerPoint explanation.”
When face to face teaching resumes, the students sitting GCSEs in 2021 will continue to have support and extra lessons will be provided and drop down days to ensure their achieve the grades they deserve for their next steps.