The lockdowns and isolation periods that all young people have suffered in the past 18 months have thrown a light on what it is that a good school can do for a child.
Parents of children learning online at home have seen first-hand the limitations of wholly online environments where young people, devoid of face-to-face learning, have struggled with instructions, retaining information, developing links in their learning. Many have lost the art of collaborative working as they sit with cameras off, mics on mute and engage passively with the world around them, but then come out of lessons and immediately plug into their social media.
Such is the experience of this pandemic, what can we learn from it?
According to Sue Baillie, Head of the ISI “excellent” rated Queen Margaret’s School for Girls in Escrick, good schools are more than just a school: they have community at their heart and they have a total commitment to each and every one of the students in their charge.
She said: “For me, that commitment goes far beyond the experience of the classroom (important though that is). At Queen Margaret’s we know our girls. We were with them throughout the lockdowns with live lessons and one-to-one tutorials and we have built on those relationships to provide tailored support for every girl on their return.
“The support they need is inevitably varied and variable. Some girls will look for academic support through our very well respected PASS (Progress, Achievement and Student Support) Department. Others will need emotional support through the services of our professionally staffed Health and Wellbeing Centre and some will simply need that open door, time and willingness to listen when things feel a little tough. We have the support structures in place to get each girl ready for life, whatever her calling.”
With a house-based pastoral structure which is equally available to all girls, whether they are day pupils or boarders, there is always someone at Queen Margaret’s to listen and advise, and someone to help parents too.
Mrs Baillie added: “As parents in lockdown we had the opportunity to see first-hand how our children learn and make judgements about how schools should support them as individuals.”
Book a space at the open day
If you want to find out more about the school’s ethos and plans, Queen Margaret’s is having an open day on Saturday, June 12.