Impact of Covid-19 on St Joseph's Sixth Form
This information is provided to explain the centre-specific impact on current Year 13 students of lockdown and school closures between March - August 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is intended to complement individual student UCAS references in line with the guidance issued by UCAS.
In line with government guidance, St Joseph's Catholic High School closed to all but children of key workers and vulnerable students on March 20th 2020. Some students within Year 12 and 13 at that time met the criteria to continue attending school.
As a result, most students were not present in school for 15 weeks of planned teaching time. Alternative provision was put in place in the form of pre-recorded lessons using Loom, live teaching via Microsoft Teams lessons and using the school’s online platform, Doddle. All teaching staff worked hard to maintain a rich learning experience, but this could not replace the experience of the classroom where skills can be rigorously developed and misconceptions addressed.
Generally, we were proud to that the the vast majority of students engaged well with online provision, but this was a new and different experience for both them and for the staff delivering lessons as it was a new way of working in our Sixth Form. Whilst we have used Microsoft Teams previously as a virtual classroom (such as recording lesson for students to access at a later date), we had not taught using the live video function. Technology was a barrier for some of our students who did not have access to laptops or had to share across several family members. The school were proactive in ensuring that students without them were given a laptops and tablets. However, sometimes some students were unable to access zoom lessons as a result of poor or slow internet connections at home. In many cases, students did not have a dedicate workspace to use as most parents were also working from home, or there were siblings in the house also wanting to access remote learning.
From June 15th until July 17th all of our Year 12 students were offered one face to face lesson (60 minutes) per subject per week. Further provision was not possible as a result of government guidance to only have 25% of students in school at one time per day. Attendance was excellent and all students, that were able to, attended their lessons based on the subject areas they saw as needed more attention.
The normal programme of Post-18 Information, Advice and Guidance (including University and Apprenticeship application support) continued via online conference calls, 1:1 interview sessions and resources posted on our website, on Teams and followed up via email. Since returning to school in September, we have been able to support students in the normal way.
Students in Year 12 would normally have undertaken internal assessments in June 2020. These were cancelled as a result of the amount of teaching time that had been missed due to the school closure. Instead, each subject has completed an online assessments in June. Students then complete formal Pre-Public Exams in the first week of October 2020. This information, alongside a holistic view of student performance, has been used to support the UCAS predicted grades.
We are now fully open and are working through a recovery curriculum to ensure our students have the opportunity to achieve their best in this year’s final exams. Our students have come out stronger and more resilient, ready to overcome significant barriers and disruption to their learning.