Online Learning/Blended Learning
UPDATED INFORMATION ON JANUARY RESTART 2021
On New Year's Eve, the Minister and the Department of Education published new guidance regarding the return to school after Christmas. This changes the arrangements for St. Mary's that were previously in place.
School will now be closed for children on Wednesday 6th January. We have been instructed to take this day as a planning day. Staff will be in school.
On Thursday 7th and Friday 8th January, learning will be online via Seesaw and Microsoft Teams for the majority of children. The school will be open to provide supervised learning for the children of key workers and vulnerable children. Please be aware that this provision is not face to face teaching. The children will be supervised and will complete the same activities as the children at home.
If you are a key worker or your child falls within the vulnerable category and you would like them to attend for supervision on the 7th and 8th January, you must complete the Microsoft Form on your class Seesaw page and submit it before Monday 4th January. The criteria for key workers and vulnerable children are within the form.
The Minister has stated that face to face teaching will resume for all children on Monday 11th January. However, this situation is under constant review, in light of rising number of positive cases. I will keep you informed as developments unfold and are confirmed.
In the meantime, I wish you a peaceful and hope-filled new year. We trust that all will be well, as it was in Term One. We’ll take things one day at a time.
ONLINE LEARNING AT ST. MARY'S LEARNING HUB
The way in which our children learn changed dramatically in March 2020. With lockdown, we made the decision to remain connected and continue our learning in the form of St. Mary's Learning Hub.
To achieve this in a very short space of time, our staff threw themselves into a huge learning curve of professional development. This innovative wave of professional development has continued since then. Members of our staff assumed key roles in leading and training others and keeping our parents instructed and informed. It was a huge logistical task to up-skill our entire school community and ensure everyone was connected in such difficult circumstances. We rose to the challenge and led our children and families through lockdown in an innovative and creative way. We had a well established form of direct communication embedded throughout the school already with Seesaw. We used this as a basis of connecting everyone to Microsoft Teams.
Children were in daily contact with their teacher, principal and classmates. Structured learning programmes were drawn up on a weekly basis. Creative projects developed, one of which, Conan's Cycling Jersey made waves internationally and raised £1,000 for charity.
Our school's work during lockdown was held up as a model of good practice. Ms Coyle presented an account of our work in a C2k webinar for all schools across Northern Ireland.
We continue to use Remote and Blended Learning techniques as a natural way to learn and communicate under the present circumstances.
Check out our Weekly Sways for some great examples of the learning and teaching that happened during lockdown.