23rd June 2021 — Many parents naturally have concerns that their child may have fallen behind in their education due to lockdown and are wondering about the continuing impact of the pandemic, but according to Douglas Brown, Headmaster of St Joseph’s In The Park in Hertingfordbury there are strategies to help them catch up and succeed despite challenging circumstances.
“Children thrive when they feel successful and we therefore need to make sure that we find time to fit in the lessons and activities that they really enjoy and that bring out the best in them. Sometimes a drama workshop, swimming session or music lesson is their time to shine and they must be allowed to demonstrate that talent and enjoy sharing it with others. We ensure that the timetable includes a wide variety of opportunities – the arts, sports, practical subjects and extra curricular activities form an important part of the day alongside the traditional academic subjects of English, maths, science and ICT. In my opinion the catch-up initiative which the government recently announced is just dipping a toe in the sea of education.”
“Our outstanding teachers treat each child as an individual and help them to reach their full potential. They want the children to achieve their best and so are willing to go the extra mile. Here are some of their top tips for parents who want to help their children catch up. Positivity is the key:
1. Help children to develop their own character rather than imposing your views on them. Nurture and encourage rather than stifling their inquisitiveness and exploration. Help them to be curious and to be investigative and observant; to notice, discover, learn and understand new things.
2. Encourage children to be independent, open-minded leaners but also to work collaboratively wherever possible. Ultimately this is the best preparation for the world of work where they need to work harmoniously with others.
3. Help children to be persistent and to have the grit and determination to stick with it when situations are challenging so that they develop the self-discipline to re-draft and improve rather than settle for a first attempt at something.
4. Create and maintain a list of daily positives as this is an excellent way to boost self esteem. A list like – I went for a run, helped a friend, completed a project. Keeping a journal is a good way to do this.
5. Exercise is crucial to wellbeing. Keep up a daily routine – even if it is just for 15 minutes a day.
Anyone who is concerned that their child’s education has stalled during lockdown may benefit from exploring what a private school can offer. Most independent schools are welcoming and offer individual tours all year round. Fees can be more affordable than parents realise and a valuable investment for a child’s future, bringing them more confidence and opportunities. The main benefits are:
- Smaller class sizes with no mixed year groups
- Continuous assessment means that all children should reach their full potential
- Children will be taught by high quality, specialist teachers who bring an increased enthusiasm to their lessons
- A full and varied curriculum - while some state schools have indicated they may return in September with a restricted range of subjects, private schools provide a full curriculum including Humanities, STEM, Sport, Languages, Music, Art and Drama
- Excellent distance learning programme with a normal timetable, live lessons, daily feedback and engagement with teachers and fellow pupils, assemblies and extra curricular activities. Online education is ready to run whenever needed.
“For the third year in a row our Year 6 results at St Joseph’s In The Park have risen. In fact, the number of children making greater than expected progress across all year groups has risen considerably. The vast majority of our children are working above the national average for their age” comments Douglas Brown.
“While we will never move away from our core values of being a child and family-centred school, the changes in our teaching methods are starting to pay dividends. We are proud of the number of children gaining access to leading senior schools along with the number of scholarships achieved. All this during a pandemic and two years of disruption is a great accomplishment.”
Private Tours - St Josephs's In The Park (stjosephsinthepark.com)