Independent MK school is raising the bar for home learning
Juggling the role of teacher, parent and worker has been a tough task for many since the coronavirus pandemic broke out – but one leading school in Milton Keynes has raised the bar for home learning with its hugely successful virtual learning programme.
The Webber Independent welcomes children aged from six months to 16 years and has recently been awarded “excellent in all areas” by the Independent Schools Inspectorate.
Despite the current lockdown, pupils at The Webber Independent School enjoy a full timetable of live video learning and an exciting online curriculum, ensuring they are intellectually and physically stimulated and have their mental health and wellbeing nourished.
Every child attends a full daily timetable between 8.45am and 4pm, interacting with their peers and teachers over live video, which creates a seamless, structured learning experience.
Hardworking teachers go into school to produce the live interactive lessons. With maximum class sizes of 20, pupils benefit from their teacher’s time and lots of one-to-one attention and feedback.
Webber also teaches 20 children of critical workers, who study from their laptops on the premises.
The Webber Nursery has remained open throughout lockdown number three and continues to help its youngest children, aged six months to four years, get their learning journeys off to a flying start.
Online “breakout rooms” enable stuck-at-home youngsters to relax, socialise, discuss work and collaborate on learning tasks with their friends and peers face-to-face, combating feelings of isolation and boosting wellbeing.
Webber Independent’s forward-thinking approach has wowed parents, with one offering “an enormous pat on the back to the Webber team for meeting the adversity brought by this awful pandemic with utmost tenacity, resourcefulness and professionalism and being a true anchor for your families through these turbulent times.”
Another added: “The level of instruction, attention and support that our son is getting with his schoolwork seems to me to be just as comprehensive as if he were physically in the classroom. It feels far less isolating for him to be able to see his classmates and teachers face-to-face every lesson.”
Headmistress Hilary Marsden said: “We were really quick to get fully interactive virtual learning up and running when the first lockdown was announced on March 23, 2020 and we have continued to raise the bar with lockdown number three.
“Webber Independent still runs a full timetable for students as if they were at school – they have not missed a moment of learning and there are no pupils being left behind.
“As well as maintaining academic progress the focus has been on student wellbeing and outstanding pastoral care as lockdown three has been significantly more challenging during the winter months. We continue to offer an holistic learning experience while our children are learning remotely.
“There has been some really great feedback from both the parents and the children. Our pupils enjoy the routine, the normality and love being set tasks that they can do and share their work with their teachers and classmates. We get lots of pictures and videos of home learning being sent in.
“We also run challenges. Last week was Makes and Bakes, where every member of the family was invited to be involved in making something.
“We try to include things that families can do together. Pupils’ learning has not been put on hold. They continue to progress, impress and excel thanks to the hard work of their teachers and support staff, working in close partnership with extremely engaged parents.”
Supporting families has also been a key focus. Parents’ Evenings, half termly reports, Parent Forums and School Councils all continue virtually, with teachers sending out personal weekly update emails on each pupil, keeping parents up to date with the progress of their child while also running one-to-one pastoral mentoring sessions with Form Tutors and Class Teachers.
The Webber Independent has gone above and beyond to make sure its pupils have access to the same high-quality education they are used to.
But it is not all about online learning. The school’s aim is to keep things fresh and fun to help keep spirits high and the school has worked hard to achieve a balance between online and offline learning.
With fun family challenges, charity fundraising events, quizzes, themed learning weeks, new teaching tools, resources and apps, pupils feel valued, connected and part of the ‘Webber Family’ while being at home.
The wellbeing of each and every pupil is paramount to the teachers and staff. They work closely with parents to create a conducive learning environment for their children that allows them to learn but also socialise with their friends and peers.
The Webber Independent has continued its impressive run of results with 100% of 2020 GCSE students achieving five or more Grade 9 – 4 (A* - C).
The Webber Nursery is also celebrating its first birthday this month and has helped inspire and nurture over 30 little minds since its opening – not an easy feat during a global pandemic!
Thirty new pupils have joined the school since September 2020 and that number continues to grow with many new families saying they felt let down by the online learning provision at their previous school.
Applications for The Webber Independent school have seen a significant increase and with limited places available Headmistress Hilary Marsden offers one-to-one meetings where parents and children can find out more about the school and how it could help their child achieve their potential on their learning journey to success.
For more information on The Webber Independent, visit www.webberindependentschool.com/VirtualWebberClassrooms or contact the Admissions Team on 01908 574740 or [email protected]