This week has seen the re-introduction of the cocurricular program in “remote” mode and we have received a great deal of positive feedback from girls and families about the joy of participating in their regular activities. I know that girls have been up early running, dancing and playing their instruments and I am sure that this has brought a great deal of colour and movement to households!
I would like to thank the many families who took the time to respond to our first survey about remote learning. The response was overwhelmingly positive with an overall rating of 4 out of 5 stars for Lowther Hall’s program. In total 477 families responded, which allowed us to get a detailed insight into how things were working for girls and parents in all parts of the School. It was interesting, but perhaps unsurprising, that nearly every family had different concerns to raise or commendations to make, with only three or four consistent themes emerging. I have briefly addressed some of these below:
Many families were keen for girls to have more time to go outside. In response to this, teachers across the School have been asked to remind girls of the importance of taking breaks and reminded to ensure classes finish on time. We certainly want girls to have time outside when weather permits and we look forward to continuing to work with parents to support this goal.
Families were understandably concerned about the amount of screen time girls are having. We share this concern and are grateful that remote learning will not be a permanent state! Again, staff have been reminded to ensure girls take breaks and they will try sometimes to set work that allows some “offscreen” time throughout the day. Unfortunately screen time is part of the price we are paying for accountability in learning and face to face delivery – both of which girls and parents have suggested are positives – so we are still trying to get the balance right. Again, we share the journey with parents and families in trying to help girls have some dedicated “off screen” time each day – particularly after learning is finished.
We had almost equal numbers of families ask for either more homework or less homework across the various year levels! In Raymond House, homework has been significantly adjusted, with an emphasis on reading, which it is important to sustain. In Senior School the usual homework expectations have remained in place to ensure that the curriculum can continue to be covered in the usual timeframes. We understand that homework provides some additional challenges in the remote context and we have addressed some of these with the girls through the assembly program. Specific suggestions for managing homework have included: changing the space where it is complete, having a clear break between the end of the school day and the start of homework and doing some of it before school in what would otherwise have been travel time.
A number of parents asked how we were supporting student wellbeing. I am satisfied that this is happening in a variety of ways including: check ins during Home Room, individual follow up by coordinators, meetings with teachers individually, the continuation of pastoral care programs and appointments with the school psychologists. Please let us know if you think your daughter would benefit from more support and we will ensure that she is followed up. The Head of School or coordinator should be your first point of contact for any student wellbeing issues.
Thank you also to the families who responded to our short survey about returning on-site. At this stage we remain in remote learning as per the Victorian Government’s advice. We will continue to plan for a return to site once we have an indication from State Government and health authorities that this is a recommended course of action. We are also starting some planning to be able to deliver music concerts and other special events remotely as we move into the remainder of the term. Thank you for all you are doing to support the girls in their ongoing learning.