Lockdown learning in full swing - Hurstpierpoint College

Lockdown learning in full swing

Members of the college’s teaching community have introduced a whole host of imaginative and inventive ideas to actively engage students in remote learning. In as near-normal a timetable as possible, there are plenty of opportunities for outdoor physical activities to reduce the amount of screen time.

Our staff are all doing a phenomenal job be it Mr Mott’s online cooking, the sporting challenges, music, drama or those teaching academic subjects. We have a good sense of what we are doing and have settled into a productive rhythm. Each week we make small, incremental and evolutionary improvements.” Tim Manly, Headmaster

In the Senior School, Fifth Formers have started their A-level and BTEC courses and been introduced to the EPQ programme. Shell, Remove and Lower Sixth students have continued with the same timetables although with an earlier start and earlier finish to reduce screen time and encourage outdoor physical activity. All students continue to participate fully in the timetabled co-curricular programmes.

Pupils in the Pre-Prep are following a reshaped timetable followed by a number of more active tasks as well as individual reading and story time. In the Prep School, Year 3 and 4 lessons take place in the mornings only, with a variety of creative tasks available for pupils to complete in the afternoon, alongside games and individual reading with class teachers. Years 5-8 are following a slightly reduced schedule enabling an earlier finish to the day to encourage reduced screen time and increased outdoor physical activity. As with the Senior School, all pupils continue to participate fully in the timetabled co-curricular programmes.

There are many highlights in the new way of learning, too many to mention, but here is a taste of how teachers are motivating students on a daily basis and an example of how students are also developing new ideas. Weekly reflections are acted upon with improvements made to enhance the new way of learning, and plans are afoot for more student-led initiatives.

With the number of games sessions increased in the Prep School, it has certainly been an interesting couple of months for the Sports staff, who have had great fun creating challenging, inclusive sessions for all pupils. The main focus has been on cricket and athletics, with a smattering of rugby, netball and hockey thrown in for good measure. Every Wednesday there has either been a live Zumba class with Miss Money or a live fitness session with Mr Dewey. Alongside the extensive games programme, pupils have also been set some sporty challenges including a Hula Hoop Challenge.

We are planning a multi-event house athletics competition and virtual event with other schools Ben Dewey and Kristina Money, Heads of Prep Sport

A Podcast Club has been introduced for one of Year 9’s enrichment sessions – in essence, a virtual book club when students listen to one podcast each week, covering a number of subject areas and then write a reflection to discuss at the following session.

CCF Officers have been working hard to come up with new and imaginative ways to not only deliver the syllabus but to encourage physical activity away from screens. One session which is proving extremely popular is Cam@Home, when cadets are taught why things are seen and how they can disguise themselves through cam-cream, clever positioning and using their surroundings. Cadets have been putting theory into practice by using their bedrooms, dining tables, wardrobes, back gardens and fields of sheep to hide or disguise themselves

It has been fantastic to see the inventiveness of the cadets and that even in these difficult times they remain cheerful in the face of adversity and engage well with all activities, Sam Amos, CCF Contingent Commander

A great starter task was introduced to one of the Remove’s GCSE PE lessons when students had five minutes to rummage around their houses, gardens, sheds and garages to find as much PPE/clothing linked with sport as they could, take a photo and share it via MS Teams. The winners received a batch of house points and the whole class had a great ‘together moment’.

The session was so interactive; the results were brilliant and the students loved it! They were out of their chairs, away from their screens and actively engaged PE Teachers Jami Edwards-Clarke and Rebecca Hughes

The Drama Department’s Spotlight Theatre Challenge is an opportunity for pupils, parents and staff to tap into their creative side once a fortnight. The winners of the first challenge – a pop song monologue – were Year 8’s Oscar L with his rendition of We Are the Champions, and Director of Music, Neil Matthews with Sweet Child of Mine. The next challenge is to write an isolation monologue. In another first, Shell students are rehearsing remotely for their annual musical, which this year is Fame.

In place of their usual twice-a-half term offering of Myths and Pizza, the Classics Department have put together a virtual version with news and recommendations to keep students interested in the ancient world. There is also an Isolation Creation Competition where students – and staff – are challenged to recreate a work of art, out of objects in their homes, dating from or inspired by the ancient world.

A-level historians organised a quiz with a twist last weekend. All participants – teachers and students – were on-screen in full historical dress. Special mention must go to Rafe L for his interpretation of Cleopatra, as quizmaster Tallen H put each pair through their paces over several rounds including an extensive set of history questions. After a nail-biting tie-break Alex C and Miss Clarke were victorious by one point – it was Alex’s knowledge of Dolphins that won the day.

We are hoping for a rematch soon!” Jo Clarke, Head of History

The Head of Senior School tasked Sixth Form students to make his signature dish in Mr Mott’s Meatball Cookery Challenge.

In the Senior School, the Sports Department’s ‘No one on the bench’ policy has certainly come into its own during the Coronavirus outbreak, with a comprehensive, remote sports programme which has received universal praise from both students and parents. As with the academic programme, creativity has been the watch word, along with a business as usual approach to the timetabling and delivery.

Sport takes place in the normal timetabled slots with a variety of fitness exercise options alongside technical clinics. The overriding message is to stay active and engaged and that includes children of key workers who receive an adapted sport programme on-site each day. Live-streamed sessions and weekly HITT sessions delivered by our Strength and Conditioning team have proved very popular, not just with students but also parents. Sporting challenges are another inspirational tool and students are encouraged to send in their result, often in the form of videos, from which prizes are awarded each week at the Headmaster’s virtual assembly.

Our Performance Athlete Scholarship Support (PASS) has been delivering an impressive array of Instagram and Twitter video clips to inspire students with functional fitness tips, skill challenges or motivational moments, as well as live interviews with elite athletes. Online one-to-one feedback sessions are another feature, with specialist coaches on-hand to offer technical support.

As with the academic programme, we have tried to recreate the relative normality of everyday school life through our online sports programme, and our students - to their credit – have bought into it, in true Hurst fashion. Hopefully, the business as usual approach has helped them to keep active and engaged but also connected and part of our amazing community Rob Kift, Director of Sport

The response from staff, pupils and parents has been excellent – demonstrating Hurst spirit at its very best. I am extremely proud and grateful to each and every member of the Hurst Community in these challenging times Tim Manly, Headmaster