In an attempt to keep a high visibility during lockdown and school closure, I have maintained regular contact with my school community through a series of video messages, or VLOGs.
This method and approach to communication has been very different to anything I have tried previously, but it has helped me reach out into the community and do my best to maintain a connection and presence with our family bases.
Here are all my video messages in one place as a record of this strange and challenging period in education.
1. March 30th 2020
The end of our first week in lockdown. My schools, Laxey and Dhoon, have been completely shut and our workforce redeployed across two hub schools to support the model of provision which has been adopted across the Isle of Man.
My first vlog is an invitation for pupils and families to share their home-learning journeys in photo and video form so that we can celebrate the fantastic work going on via our social media channels.
2. March 30th 2020
Much like my first vlog, this is a message calling for work to be shared and celebrated. My first vlog was directed to the Dhoon School audience… this one was for my Laxey School audience.
3. April 1st 2020
In my next vlog I thank our school communities for responding to my call for examples of work. I also take the opportunity to outline the home-learning offer that can be accessed via our school websites to fill the Easter period. Whereas originally planned as a two week holiday, COVID19 forced us to rewrite the book and prepare for an Easter holiday that would never come.
4. April 3rd 2020
In this vlog I add further detail to the Easter home-learning package which includes some additional Easter themed “fun” activities such as the “Dhoon School Great Decorated Egg Challenge.”
5. April 8th 2020
I recorded this vlog just before Good Friday – in it I talked about the importance of finding some downtime and family time over the Easter period – there is definitely value in rest, relaxation and chocolate alongside all the home-learning!
6. April 21st 2020
Time to give all the mums, dads and carers a huge “thank you” for picking up the mantle of Education during this period of home-learning. I also introduce our “Managing Home Learning Expectations” information sheet which we put together to help alleviate some of the anxieties and stresses that we had become aware of in some families… quite understandably so, given that by now we were 4 weeks into school closures and were at the height of the lockdown.
7. April 24th 2020
In this vlog I discuss the latest update to home-learning and request images from families holding up messages of support and thanks that we will turn into an inspiring photo montage.
8. May 8th 2020
An important vlog for Dhoon School in which I reference our schools’ “Keeping In Touch” phonecalls and explain the newly evolved home-learning offer that has been refreshed in the light of parental feedback. This now includes direct access to the teachers through new Google Gmail accounts where children can submit work and receive personal feedback and “next steps.” I also announce my Federation’s endorsement of Oak National Academy as the preferred platform to augment the bespoke content that my teachers have been planning. This includes daily video lessons linked by subject and age-group.
9. May 8th 2020
Similar to my previous vlog, but tailored towards the Laxey School audience.
10. May 22nd 2020
In this tenth vlog I address the subject of a planned and gradual reopening of Dhoon School and Laxey School. As State run schools we take our advice and direction as to the dates and eligible year groups from our own Government. There have been some significant announcements recently from the Department of Education and in this vlog I begin to explain to our parent communities how I intend to translate those Government directions into a workable – and safe – plan for our own schools.
11. May 29th 2020
In this vlog I sign off for the start of a two-week break from WFH, hub schools, home-learning and COVID19 uncertainty, and finish with a glimmer of hope that the first steps towards a return to normal – the reopening of Laxey School and Dhoon School – are on the horizon.