COVID-19 and our digital zoom lessons
Our long-established club programme has flipped immediately into digital zoom meetings. And we’re proud to report that the content-packed lessons are continuing to run smoothly – in the same small clubs, and with every child’s own teacher – bang on time. We jumped straight in and didn’t manage to miss a single lesson.
The only thing that’s changed is the venue. All the practical details you need should be here on this page. Please see below for how it all works (and why we’ve done it this way)…
Why did we flip to digital lessons?
The venues have closed, social distancing is the new norm and we love this personal approach where we teach lessons live (rather than relying on parents to pick up the slack themselves). The children can also see each other and communication is as friendly and supportive as it was before.
A huge benefit of small group teaching is the focus on working as a team. The children complete individual assignments and ask their own questions of the teacher, but they are not alone and feel the warmth of the group around them. This takes the pressure off them individually, and feels more important than ever at the moment.
What will happen to the kent test 11+ ?
Our Kent Test is provided by GL Assessment. They have recently updated their website to reassure their customers (schools and education authorities) that they are able to flip their exams to online, home-based assessments very readily. Here’s the link to their site – look towards the bottom of their announcement and the first of their FAQs.
There is a good deal of time built into the secondary transfer process. The 11+ exam takes place in September and GL provide the adjusted results to the schools within around a fortnight. Then – at the moment- the local authority gives itself 5 months to allocate schools. In the past the exam took place in January and schools were still allocated in March (even before their systems were automated as they are now). So it isn’t too much of a stretch to imagine that they could revert to that system again.
Children don’t actually attend their new schools for a whole year after the September exam. As this is the case it will be straightforward for the process to be shifted a little and it is likely it will continued, possibly online and possibly shifted to January 2021.
What will happen to the ISEB Common pre-test?
The ISEB Common Pre-test is provided by GL Assessment. They have recently updated their website to reassure their customers (schools and education authorities) that they are able to flip their exams to online, home-based assessments very readily. Here’s the link to their site – look towards the bottom of their announcement and the first of their FAQs.
Children don’t actually attend their new schools for three years after the November exam takes place. As this is the case it will be straightforward for the process to be shifted a little, possibly to January 2021. It may even go ahead on time.
How do i set up zoom at home?
The lessons run live on zoom software.
To set it up in advance, download the software from this link to zoom. It is free to download.
Getting started on your laptop/desktop:
- You will receive an email from us, via zoom, with a link to click to join the meeting. Please email me for this link if it hasn’t arrived 24 hours before your child’s lesson is due to begin.
- Click the link at the agreed time, and join.
- Once you join you will need to look down to the bottom left of the screen where there is a camera icon. Click on this so that we can see your faces.
- If you’ve not set up the software don’t worry. When you click the link there is a ‘click here’ option but that won’t work quite yet.
- You will see an option to ‘join from your browser’. When you click on that it asks you for a password (this is a number in the original zoom email) and there is a box for you to fill in your child’s name.
- Then – with everything crossed – you should be in.
- Again, once you join you will need to look down to the bottom left of the screen where there is a camera icon. Click on this so that we can see your faces.
Getting started on your phone/tablet:
- Open the email from zoom and save the 6 digit password before clicking the link. It will ask you to click another blue button on screen to download the app. The meeting code will be on the screen with that button.
- Download the app, enter the 6 digit password you’ve saved from the email, and then click yes to audio and camera when offered.
What equipment does my child need to hand?
Your child needs a sharp pencil and a good pen (we use uniball fine rollerball pens in black). If we still have their year 4 Maths and English books, I do aim to drop them to your houses before lesson two. If you don’t have a book, then lined paper is ideal.
Each lesson requires specific worksheets. These are sent out weekly on an email to every family. As the lessons are packed with content there are a number of pages to deal with. We will be cutting this back to make it as manageable as possible over the coming lessons.
what if I don't have a printer?
At the moment the clubs have been swiftly pivoted online and as we pride ourselves on packing them with content there has been some printing involved. Over the coming lessons this will be cut back to the minimum (whilst maintaining the level of content).
If you set the zoom software up on your phone or a tablet, then your child can read the sheets straight from the computer screen, separately from the video meeting.
If that isn’t possible, then simply open the sheets on your desktop and your child can read them there. The video window is small and can be slid to the side of the screen.
How will my child be fully supported?
Our aim is to deliver as much support as possible so that you don’t feel you are suddenly responsible for your child’s exam preparations:
1) All lesson content is emailed to you each week.
2) Each element of the content has a video introduction to accompany it (I’m taping these each week). These videos do not replace the lesson but are a useful addition where I explain the method and any key teaching points (you can turn the sound down as they are very LOUD (!) and you can pause and rewind to adjust the pace).
3) Photograph any written work your child completes, any unmarked homework or anything at all that needs further comment or investigation. I love receiving these emails and will give you any feedback you need.
4) We keep detailed cloud-based records of absolutely every element of our teaching courses. These are saved as individual spreadsheets and based on a traffic light system. They show you what your child has covered and has yet to cover, what they have secured, what they need a little more input on and where they are struggling. Each report has a supporting updated web-page with the appropriate resources and support notes. We also pick up on areas of weakness individually, and contact parents with support. Records are shared with your formally 3 times a year, but we have them to hand at any point that you have a question or concern to address. Just drop me an email.
WHAT PARENTS HAVE SAID
That was the most amazing class yesterday!! Thank you!!
Hi Hayley, thank you and thank you Deborah for today’s 12pm session. I thought it ran really well – such clever technology. He thoroughly enjoyed it too.
I just wanted to say a massive thank you to yourself and Charlotte for today’s session. It’s a welcome relief for my son to be able to continue with his tutoring. It’s going to be a challenging time for parents juggling home schooling and work during these uncertain times but I wanted you to know how much I appreciate all your efforts in ensuring they continue their studies.
Hi HayleyI just wanted to say thanks to you and Fran, the session worked really well yesterday and she really appreciated the face to face experience.
Any semblance of normality is good and it’s great to keep his mind ticking over and your help is really appreciated.
Please find attached his English answers from today’s lesson.
Thank you so much, this worked really well.