Stepping up to the challenges of the past year, Robert Gordon’s College has embraced the online delivery of education while faced with adversity.
Teaching standards have been maintained throughout lockdown via the college’s Virtual School and the newly introduced hybrid system, enabling senior pupils to return to their classrooms, participate in a new outdoor education programme and sporting activities to maximise their time in school.
For young learners in the Junior School the recent lockdown enabled pupils to follow their full-time timetable with their class teacher and specialist teachers throughout the school day.
For senior pupils, the two-metre distancing has had its challenges. Robust phased return arrangements have been made to ensure a safe environment for pupils. Staff have worked around the clock on timetables, risk assessments and logistics, to make sure that return could happen and offer as much opportunity for pupils to be at school with their friends.
With the return to school being warmly welcomed by families, feelings of anxiety and uncertainty may remain in the months ahead. With this in mind, the college has been pushing the boundaries to think about ways to support pupils and a new Wellbeing Hub has been established to support pupils as they return to school.
Robin Macpherson, Head of College, said: “Our new Wellbeing Hub has been introduced to provide maximum pupil support for this unique situation and to help us reconnect fully as a community.
“We understand that everybody’s experiences and needs are different, so we have created a safe space for pupils when they need time out, someone to talk to and help as they re-adjust to the new school environment.”
In addition to utilising the green spaces of Countesswells Sports Field, Senior School pupils will participate in Outdoor Education at Templars’ Park through new programme, “Be Social, Be Active and Be Positive”.
Bob Tayler, Head of Outdoor Education, commented: “The outdoors has been proven to enhance health and wellbeing, as well as providing space for groups to start to mix and socialise.
“It is important for us to ensure that pupils feel happy and safe about returning to school.”
Sarah Webb, Head of Junior School, said: “Our focus over these first few weeks back at school has been health and wellbeing with children involved in collaborative group activities – and not much screen time.
“The support that our amazing community of pupils, parents and staff have shown to one another is astounding. In fact, I received feedback from a family who said their child’s education has not ‘missed a beat’ during lockdown.”
She added: “I have always said that education is a partnership between home and school, and this has been proven in the spirit of the Gordon’s community.
“In reviewing our successes during this latest lockdown it was impressive to see that on a daily basis we had over 99% of our children in their class Google meets with 97% of all tasks completed and submitted to their teachers.”
Robin continued: “I’m very proud of the smooth transition from Virtual School to welcoming pupils back through the school gates.
“We appreciate the contact that we’ve had with parents giving us an even fuller picture of the impact that lockdown has had as well as the honesty from pupils and the trust they’ve put in us.
“The most consistent message from them is that they just want to see their friends again.”