Remote Learning 2.0 - Hurstpierpoint College

Remote Learning 2.0

Dominic Mott, Head of Senior School, explains how Hurst College is navigating its way through the second period of remote learning

The Prime Minister’s announcement at the start of January was less remarkable for the news of further school closures than it was for the length of the lockdown. Meaning at least another half term of remote learning for pupils up and down the country in both independent and maintained schools. And this time, there was no balmy sunny weather or even the novelty factor of studying at home to soften the blow.

Fortunately for Hurst pupils, the previous six months had seen a genuine digital revolution which allowed a seamless transition to online learning. Teachers were not only familiar with their new Surface Pro laptops, but had also amassed a wealth of experience, knowledge and ideas from the first period of remote learning.

A snap IT survey at the start of this term identified pupils who needed help with minor glitches (wi-fi, webcams, printing etc) and highlighted the teaching techniques that the pupils themselves thought worked best. Their feedback was invaluable in pointing out some of the best ways to add variety, make full use of the technology, and increase pupil interaction.

The new MS Teams feature of breakout rooms was a particularly popular addition, allowing pupils to collaborate in small groups during lessons and really feel that they were connecting with one another rather than being isolated at home.

We were also able to draw on our experience of the previous remote learning period to make adjustments to the structure of the week – bringing games time earlier, for example, to allow the pupils to exercise outside whilst it was still light. Meanwhile, the full range of co-curricular offerings continued apace, just as it had done last summer.

The one thing that the Hurst community has had to work on the most is precisely that – maintaining the sense of community which makes Hurst a special place to study and work. Housemasters and mistresses, ably supported by their tutor teams, are working hard to strike the balance between regular one-on-one pastoral support for those who need it, and group activities, assemblies, games, quizzes and competitions for those who want to feel those myriad human connections that are such an intrinsic part of Hurst life.

As more information is forthcoming from Ofqual and the exam boards regarding GCSEs and A-levels, our pupils will have a little more certainty over what lies in store for the rest of this academic year. For now, we just have to hope that the government allows all pupils to return as soon as they feel it is safe to do so to resume the full programme of activities on site. Whenever they do return, we will be ready for them – mass COVID testing facilities included. In the meantime, we continue with our aim to offer the best possible all-round education, whilst looking forward to getting back to normality as quickly and safely as we can.


Please follow the links below for further information about Hurst College, an independent, co-educational, day and flexi/weekly boarding school for pupils aged 4–18, located just to the north of the village of Hurstpierpoint, West Sussex.

Prep & Pre-Prep
Senior School
Sixth Form
College Campus

Hurst College’s inspection reports and reviews:
ISC Inspection reports
Good Schools Guide