Returning to school in rural Yorkshire: what will learning look like for students going forward?

PUBLISHED: 13:49 14 September 2020 | UPDATED: 13:49 14 September 2020

'We are working hard to keep everyone safe but also create an enjoyable experience for students to return to.' Picture: Ackworth School

'We are working hard to keep everyone safe but also create an enjoyable experience for students to return to.' Picture: Ackworth School

Anthony Farran

Tom Shennan-Barker, from Ackworth School - a co-ed boarding and day school situated in the historic Yorkshire countryside - explains why ‘flexibility’ and ‘adaptability’ are the keywords in education right now.

'We are currently offering visits for families and students interested in joining us to come and see the school in action.' Picture: Ackworth School'We are currently offering visits for families and students interested in joining us to come and see the school in action.' Picture: Ackworth School

Q: What has life at Ackworth School been like for returning students?

A: It’s been great welcoming students and staff back. We’ve done our best to ensure everyone’s safety - social distancing is in place and students have been organised into bubbles - while making sure it’s an enjoyable environment for students to return to. So yes some things are a little different, but we’ve done our best to make it feel as normal as possible.

We still have some international students who can’t yet come back to school and some pupils in the UK who are currently in local lockdown – but despite different circumstances and time zones, they’ve joined in with their peers via online lessons.

Our smaller class sizes enable us to spend more time with each child, provide them with the individual support they need.' Picture: Ackworth SchoolOur smaller class sizes enable us to spend more time with each child, provide them with the individual support they need.' Picture: Ackworth School

Q: What changes will be made to ensure minimal disruption to the children’s education?

A: We strive to develop resilience in the children we educate and we’re all about overcoming adversity. Recent events are a perfect example of how we can work with students and parents to do just that.

All students have been given an iPad to facilitate learning, both in the classroom and at home. For the foreseeable future, education will need to be a mix of online and in-classroom teaching. We need to remain as flexible and adaptable as we can to ensure our students’ education can continue during these uncertain times.

Our smaller class sizes enable us to spend more time with each child, provide them with the individual support they need to learn and develop.

'We need to remain as flexible as we can to ensure our students’ education can continue during these uncertain times.' Picture: Ackworth School'We need to remain as flexible as we can to ensure our students’ education can continue during these uncertain times.' Picture: Ackworth School

Q: Why is it important, now more than ever, for parents and teachers to work together?

A: We appreciate that many parents are worried about their children returning to school and what impact COVID-19 could be having on their education.

This is why we are doing all we can to keep parents up to date. Throughout lockdown we stayed connected with parents, offering support and helping them to create a productive home learning environment. Parental involvement was key to ensuring pupils remained engaged in the learning and were prepared for school and ready to pick up where they left off, when they returned.

We’ll continue to work closely with parents to make sure this carries on as we move forward, as it only enhances pupils’ ability to succeed and their enjoyment of school.

Q: Can families visit the school to take a look around?

A: We are currently offering visits for families and students interested in joining us. They can visit the site, take a look around and see the school in action. Call or email us to book an appointment.

Boarding at Ackworth School starts from age 10. Our nursery accepts students between the ages of 2.5 to 4 years old. From the ages of 4 to 16, pupils can enrol at our junior or secondary school. Those 16 and over can apply to attend the sixth form college.

Ackworth School was founded in 1779 on behalf of the Quakers. We’re a school built on the beliefs of equality and sustainability. We have a rich and vibrant history that benefits and enriches the lives of our students.

We’re dedicated to giving them the best start in life and ensuring they have the skills they need for a bright and successful future.

Visit ackworthschool.com for more information.

Call 01977 233 600 or email admissions@ackworthschool.com to arrange a visit to the school.

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