Junior School News

Gordonstoun Junior School News (Spring Term 2021). By Cath Lyall, Gordonstoun Assistant Head (Pastoral)

This term may not have been the term we hoped to have but I have to say that our children have once again risen to the challenge and embraced the technology enthusiastically and with growing confidence; their smiles and enthusiasm have been infectious.

Keeping in touch with families was one of our priorities and we did this through regular wellbeing phone calls home. These gave the form teachers a chance to touch base with families and make sure everything was working as well as it could. The feedback we received was that this was appreciated and kept the lines of communication open between home and school.

In the Junior School we had a different shape to the day this time with a longer break at lunchtime. This allowed the children to go outside and make the most of the daylight – in these dark winter weeks – while getting some exercise. To encourage outside exercise we had a 500 mile challenge between our three clubs, Aigan, Conval and Rinnes. This was thoroughly enjoyed by our children, and indeed staff, who all seemed to be out walking, running or cycling at some point in the day.

Our younger children in years 2 and 3 had a modified online programme this time, which was more suited to their needs. For this age group it is incredibly difficult to keep them motivated and learning online later into the afternoon. They managed all the core subjects in the morning, with a separate maths lesson for each year group, and then one lesson in the afternoon which was art or project work, certainly a lighter subject.

In years 4 and 5 we continued to teach them in smaller groups for maths and English. We were delighted to welcome Mrs Steinhart – our new Head of Student Support – to this team and she brings a wealth of teaching experience with her.

Maintaining friendships and providing opportunities for the children to chat was something that the staff were aware of and as a result some of the older children had classes set up called Playground which is where the children could message each other. Providing this ‘safe social online space’ was a real highlight for the children and it was great to see them connecting to their friends.

To support the children of key workers we were delighted to offer a childcare hub in the Junior School for qualifying families. We welcome children from 8.30 in the morning and they were supervised and supported while they did their lessons. During the lunchbreak they had the opportunity to go for a walk round the campus or play games with Hrs Humes.

Whilst our children and families have done amazingly well during this online learning term we are really looking forward to welcoming everyone back to school after the Easter holiday. We have so much to look forward to, expeditions planning is well underway and there will also be opportunities for our children to use the outdoor learning spaces regularly.