Guided Home Learning
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we were highly impressed with how our students, parents and teachers adapted in unprecedented times. Below is a summary of our Guided Home Learning plan, demonstrating the whole school's efforts to keep upbeat and achieving even when remote.
“The programme and approach has been nothing short of exceptional and at the right level in terms of amount, use of screens and our ability to accommodate our other commitments.”
- Junior School Parent
Students can expect to follow their full timetable using their school issued iPads, including Form Time, Assemblies, selected Co-Curricular Clubs, National Competitions, Concerts and GDST Conferences, virtually. Our Guided Home Learning provision is a combination of live lessons on Microsoft Teams and work set on Firefly, our internal virtual learning platform. Some examples of home teaching approaches include:
- Live teaching lessons (online) - full class, small group teaching and 1:1
- Pre-recorded teaching
- Every girl in KS1 participates in a live 1:1 focussed reading session on MS Teams with a Teacher
- Textbooks and reading books students have at home
- Printed home packs produced by teachers (e.g. workbooks, worksheets)
- Long-term project work and/or research activities
- Co-curricular activities
Please read the GDST digital guide to Guided Home Learning to find out more about how we continue to educate our girls in times of school building closure, or read our Frequently Asked Questions below.
Frequently asked questions
Will my daughter be taught broadly the same curriculum as they would if they were in school?
We teach the same curriculum remotely as we do in school wherever possible and appropriate. However, we have needed to make some adaptations in some subjects. For example, some of our practical lessons, such as Drama, may follow a different format to usual, but they will still be covering the curriculum.
How long can I expect work set by the school to take my daughter each day?
In the Senior School, the full timetable is followed, including form time and clubs. This means students will be logged on from 8.30 am until 3.45 pm, with the usual break times. They will also follow their normal homework timetable, though teachers may set shorter tasks. Tasks will be adapted to ensure screen time is limited, where possible.
Sixth Form students will still have study periods in which to complete homework, private study, UCAS statements and more.
How will my daughter access Guided Home Learning?
All pupils in Years 3-11 have a school issued iPad. All students in the Sixth Form either have their own Macbook device or have been loaned one by school. Live lessons will take place on Microsoft Teams. Non-live lessons (if a teacher is unwell) and homework is set on our internal Virtual Learning Environment, Firefly. Parents can have access to tasks set on Firefly if added by the teacher.
What co-curricular opportunities do the students have access to during times of Guided Home Learning?
A number of Clubs have continued; Fitness club, Dance club, Book Club, Poetry club, French Club, Eco Club, Art Club as well as many Music Ensembles, to give a flavour. Other examples include Peripatetic Music Lessons, as well as many Music ensembles, rehearsals and concerts.
Our weekly Wollstonecraft Speaker Series, hosting pioneering female speakers to inspire our students, has continued virtually throughout. For example, during the first national lockdown we welcomed Professor Martina Michelleti, vaccine expert from UCL, to talk about vaccine development - never before has a talk been so relevant.
In our virtual 'Languages Week', the girls became 'Blackheath Spies' in an incredibly exciting spy themed week. Throughout the week, the students took part in missions in French, Spanish and German. They also had taster lessons in Mandarin, Russian, Arabic and Korean, as well as experiencing a once-in-a-lifetime live and interactive talk from a GCHQ linguist special guest.
And just for fun, our BHS Bake-off competition has kept students and families busy with a 10-week cooking competition, with a new recipe set every fortnight! #BlackheathHighBakeoff
How will you support my daughter's access Guided Home Learning?
We are always here to support students when they need it. Should a student have a faulty device or any IT-related issues that affects their learning they should inform the IT service desk, which is overseen by our technical team, and we will arrange for a replacement to be issued temporarily. Teachers will not set any work that requires a printer to be used, as students are trained on how to annotate documents on an iPad and submit their work through Firefly and Teams. If students do not have online access, we will work with them and their families to give alternative provision.
What are your expectations for my daughter's engagement and the support that we as parents and carers should provide at home?
We expect students to be ready to learn at 8.30am, in an appropriate environment. They should be fully prepared for the day ahead, ensuring they have all resources for lessons organised in advance. Parents can support by ensuring the above happens and that students are ready to learn. We also ask parents to encourage students to take regular breaks.
How will you assess my daughter's work and progress?
Teachers will continue to assess work in the usual way to ensure progress and attainment levels are reached. Some may give whole class feedback, written feedback or verbal feedback. Various software programmes are used to assess understanding.
What additional support do you provide for pupils with particular needs?
Our SEND team has recently expanded so we have an excellent provision in place to support these students.
Keeping our Community together
Year 2s enjoying their live Music class
Staying active daily with our #GDSTGETACTIVE Challenge
A lockdown Summer Music Concert
Our 140th Year of Promise Sustainability campaign - the whole school community has made enironmental pledges
Wellbeing is always paramount at Blackheath High School. We have worked hard to maintain our strong wellbeing and pastoral care during the global pandemic to support our girls and staff, especially during times of school closure.
Some examples of this include:
- Weekly wellbeing topics are covered in PSHEE lessons and Tutor Time
- Our Tutors meet with girls twice a day for regular check-ins and group discussion
- Our Pastoral team meet regularly with students who may need more support
- The Student Peer Mentors meet regularly via Microsoft Teams to continue running their student-led support service, and are always on hand to support students 1:1
- The School Counsellor is holding 1:1 counselling sessions with students via Microsoft Teams
- To give the students a rest from their computers, we hosted our ‘Escape The Screen’ day with activities for students and staff to energise and refresh such as yoga, painting, chess playing, gardening, baking, and even bird watching in the RSBP Big School Watch 2021
- Our Action for Happiness calendar is followed by students, families and staff, and is great way of staying uplifted and connected
In the media:
Our Head, Carol Chandler-Thompson and Head of Junior School, Sarah Skevington talk to School Report magazine on how our girls thrived despite the difficult lockdown.