The Surrey Live recently published a news article describing how Alastair Mckenzie, Prinicpal of Kings College has gone to incredible lengths to ensure that all students have access to home learning. See the full article below.
A head teacher at a secondary school in Guildford is making special efforts to support his pupils and staff during the coronavirus pandemic.
Schools across the UK closed on Friday, March 20 in a bid to halt the spread of the COVID-19 disease
The announcement was made by Prime Minister Boris Johnson two days prior.
Kings College, which has 327 pupils, is one of them.
However some children were not able to access the content due to a lack of resources at home.
Head teacher Alastair McKenzie bought tablets for those who do not have a computer at home, and has assisted with broadband, so that no pupil is left behind.
He explained that teachers are carrying out virtual lessons through Zoom, and many are providing content outside of the exam curriculum.
He said: “We have been doing lots of virtual lessons. Teachers are doing live lessons through Zoom in their front rooms and they are being attended by 80% of the class – that has been really good.
“It’s nice for them to hear a voice and a see a familiar face that’s smiling. Everybody feels isolated, but if you are a young person, you need people to be upbeat and lively.
“We are very lucky in that we have staff here who are passionate and bonkers enough to make this work and fun for our students.”
After its final assembly, the school allowed its pupils to take books home from the library so they don’t collect dust over the coming months.
Mr McKenzie said students went home with bags “packed full of novels”.
Despite the school’s closure, he said this is a brilliant chance for young people to “read, draw, laugh, dance, and do silly things”, as well as learning what’s on the curriculum.
He said: “We are trying to do some different stuff and it’s quite freeing and liberating for the teachers to be able to do some passion projects.
“Education matters, not just for exams. Education and knowledge is an way of accessing the world and the conversations that go on.”
“We have some students who are struggling with the online content, so we have created packs that we can deliver to them at a safe distance.
“Lots of people are enjoying the notion that someone is coming out and showing that they care during this difficult time.”
As well as supporting its pupils and staff, the school is offering car parking spaces to NHS staff who work at the Royal County Surrey Hospital.
He said the school is one of the nearest educational establishments to the hospital; any key workers who need to use the spaces are welcome to.
He added: “One of my jobs over the coming months will be to ensure that I’m still interacting with people and that teachers also feel supported. They are not particularly used to sitting in their front rooms and teaching virtually.
“I love working with children and we have brilliant kids and a community spirit that everybody feels a part of.”