Our academic vision and aims for the online teaching period are clear and concise:
Jenny Davey (pictured) Sub-warden (Academic) says that teacher commitment and pupil engagement - in place from week one of online teaching - are collectively delivering very strong results via Coll@Home. The result is excellent attendance rates and academic progress- more here.
We have been pleased to receive some very positive feedback from parents about Coll@Home but we are not complacement and we are constantly seeking ways to further improve and innovate. You can view the responses to our parent survey here: Parental survey responses.
We are pleased to report our pupils have achieved excellent EPQ results - these were announced at the end of February and will be very valuable in lifting the standout of our pupils' university applications. George Pounder, our EPQ Coordinator, explains more here.
Glenalmond took the ambitious decision to run our normal school timetable, with live lessons following the familiar structure of the school day. We did this deliberately as we are determined to offer the highest quality education to our pupils and are convinced that this format provides a structure that supports and encourages positive wellbeing for our pupils and our parents!
All teachers have clear routines for each lesson. They register all pupils present on Schoolbase, greet pupils warmly, record the meeting and ensure all faces are visible and remind pupils of the key elements of the user agreement. We ensure all pupil microphones are muted and that, to ask questions, pupils should use the Chat function, or unmute their microphone as appropriate.
Teachers set the learning objectives for the lesson, placing these firmly in the context of prior learning. They set high expectations of the standard of work expected and specify exactly what materials are required for the lesson to proceed.
Teachers plan plenty of off screen opportunities, framed with a specific time and plan effective questioning techniques, asking pupils to contribute, comment or elaborate on replies.
Stars, house points and distinctions are all logged on Schoolbase and rewarded by Warden’s Commendations twice a term and the end of term Star Prizes.
If there is any interaction in the class which is inappropriate or not conducive to learning, the teacher follows this up with the tutor, House Master or Mistress and the Head of Department.
Learning Support continues to prioritise support for those pupils who would find online learning extremely challenging. For these pupils, the department meets the scheduled lessons to offer support and to help with the completion of preps and classwork and the department continues to work closely with teachers whose pupils need help with their continued progress. Further to this, the department is also ensuring that all of the necessary exam paperwork and applications are in place to ensure that those pupils transitioning to A-Level studies and beyond are not disadvantaged. The same attention to detail is given to those pupils at GCSE level.
During Coll@Home, pupils in 3rd Form and 4th Form continue to attend EAL lessons as part of their timetabled lessons. In 5F, on top of their normal lessons, they have the opportunity to attend one-to-one lessons with Mrs Mundill to practise their speaking skills and prepare for that part of the IGCSE exam. In the 6th Form, pupils have continued to attend 4 EAL lessons a fortnight, and individual help is offered in Help sessions to pupils who have requested it.
Each class teacher will continue to provide material to stretch and challenge students at all ability levels during online lessons. Additionally, there will be weekly subject challenges and academic enrichment opportunities.
Each week, Houses and departments will set a subject challenge in the Friday Warden’s newsletter. These will be accessible to all and students will be able to enter individually, in groups/Houses, or with their families. The idea is to offer opportunities for collaboration with friends outside of the virtual classroom or a task to enjoy with their household, as well as offering enjoyable activities for their free time.
Academic enrichment updates
During term time in normal circumstances, all our pupils are able to access a wide range of clubs and societies. We know that there is a need to keep a careful balance between on and off screen time and so we will send our pupils a weekly email of academic enrichment opportunities. They will include links to competitions, resources, online lectures and videos that allow students to stretch themselves beyond the curriculum in a range of subjects.
Glenalmond College has always recognised the importance and benefits of setting work (prep) for pupils to complete independently: reinforcing the concepts studied in lessons, allowing for additional practice thereby allowing pupils to find out what areas still need further work, or simply enjoying working on a project or extended piece of writing, for example.
In the current phase of remote learning, however, the College is also mindful of the demands on pupils and the need to balance academic work with time away from screens, in order to maintain pupils' wellbeing.
To this end, the prep timetables in the junior years below sixth form level have been reconfigured to allow a little more space and to encourage a high quality of work without overburdening learners. In fact, the second and third forms should be able to enjoy a prep-free weekend now. It is hoped that this might enable these pupils to have time to do things away from screens and schoolwork, to give their brains a little downtime and perhaps to engage in some recreational reading, which the school recognises is instrumental in any child's intellectual development.