Students are getting stuck in with their online learning, despite the challenges faced by young people in another National Lockdown.

Since returning to their studies in January, students have attended live lessons in a bid to recreate the classroom and keep their learning on track. Teachers at Wey Valley Academy are delivering online lessons using a virtual learning platform called Microsoft Teams. It means that students can access their expert teachers, continue to ask questions and discuss complex ideas together.

Wey Valley Academy would like to thank its community of students, staff and parents who have all made this happen. Principal Rob Russell stated, ‘We wouldn’t be able to achieve this without the help of our fantastic team of parents at home and support staff in school, alongside our teaching staff who are working really hard to adapt to this new way of working.’

Student engagement is excellent with attendance above the national average. Assistant Vice Principal Laura Parkes says, ‘the attitude to learning in our young people is wonderful. They want to learn and nothing will stop them, not even a National Lockdown!’ Student feedback from a virtual school council meeting emphasised how passionate our young people felt about their live lessons and being able to talk and ask questions of their teachers, stating that it felt as close  to normal school as possible in these challenging times.

Over 120 laptops have been handed out in an attempt to make sure everyone can access the learning, while parents and students are being encouraged to sign up for the data support being offered by mobile phone companies.

Wey Valley Academy careers lead, Jenny Rogers has introduced a new careers package online which students have started to use. They are having regular assemblies and sporting challenges are under way to help motivate students and give them screen breaks, including the Wey Valley Olympic Lockdown Challenge. Set up by P.E. teacher Emma Stranger, the aim is to see if each tutor group can ‘travel’ to Tokyo by undertaking weekly physical challenges including dog walking and going for a cycle ride. Flying to Tokyo from Bristol airport would take 850 minutes, which is the challenge for every tutor group to complete via physical exercise and logging their minutes of being active. Year 7 are presently creeping ahead with Year 9 hot on their heels.

Tutor sessions have been vital in helping to support student well-being and helping our young people stay connected with their friends, with activities including quizzes, bring your pet to school day, ‘Now That’s National Lockdown 3.0’ playlist creation and guess the object from a zoomed in photograph. One tutor group were even put through their paces with a virtual fire drill last week.

It’s not easy being a young person at this time, but we are incredibly proud of our Wey Valley students and everything they are achieving.