Highgate Hill parents praise school's efforts throughout lockdown
Highgate Hill House School, a co-educational school for children with special educational needs aged 5 to 16 years, near Holsworthy in Devon, has welcomed pupils back to school this week following a highly successful 'lockdown' online learning platform created by staff.
Teaching and support staff uploaded a huge array of material including video story telling, outdoor challenges, cookery lessons, quizzes and art lessons, which was easily accessible to home users via the Internet. Mindfulness and materials to support mental health were also on hand, provided by the very experienced behaviour/pastoral support and therapeutic teams.
Headteacher Vicky Percival, said: “It has been wonderful to see the huge variety of activities going on at home. These sessions have been very successful and in the main, has seen pupil’s engagement increase over the lockdown period. The welfare of the staff was also of prime importance. As well as our families and students, the staff could equally start to feel isolated. To combat this, virtual meetings were deployed for class groups and senior leaders, which enabled daily de-briefings to take place”.
Throughout the entire lockdown period, the school remained open to children of key workers and those children that were considered at risk. These children regularly attended the school site as normal. From June 1st 2020, as a special school, Highgate Hill is able to introduce more students back to the school premises, from all year groups, after consulting with parents.
The school has received overwhelmingly positive feedback from parents and carers about it's efforts during the Coronavirus pandemic, including one Mum who said: “I wanted to acknowledge the wonderful work that Vicky and the amazing staff are doing to support us at this really difficult time”, and another Mum who added: “As a parent of an extremely vulnerable child it's a very difficult time for us, but I just wanted to drop a quick message to say how amazing the staff have been”.
Sir Peter Birkett, School Founder, added: “Although this has been an unprecedented challenging time for all involved, Highgate Hill House School has risen to the challenges that were presented to us and continue to provide excellent educational opportunities and support for our students, families and staff. The last few weeks have also taught us that when faced with adversity, as a team, we can adapt and overcome these challenges and maybe learn a few things along the way!”