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Remote learning systems paying off at West Norfolk schools

Students at four West Norfolk secondary schools have the knowledge – thanks to investment in a new system rolled out to assist remote learning.

West Norfolk Academies Trust schools at Springwood, St Clement's, Marshland and Smithdon are benefitting from the Knowledge Organiser book system that was already planned for introduction before lockdown began.

And officials say it has proved to be an even wiser investment in the current pandemic climate.

Smithdon High School year seven student, Euphemia Bazeley-Smith with her West Norfolk Academy Trust Knowledge Organiser. Picture: Ian Burt (44381987)
Smithdon High School year seven student, Euphemia Bazeley-Smith with her West Norfolk Academy Trust Knowledge Organiser. Picture: Ian Burt (44381987)

“This was a resource which we had planned to use across the trust this year anyway and distribute to all students,” said the Trust’s head of secondary standards, John Hirst, who is also head teacher of Hunstanton's Smithdon school.

“We have invested heavily into it because of its usefulness. It is used in lessons, but primarily at home where it can be used for homework and preparing for tests and quizzes.

"Every lesson starts with a short recap quiz, which covers information learnt from the entire course. It makes it easier for parents to understand what their children are learning in school and much easier for them to support them at home.”

Teachers of each subject across the Trust collaborated to come up with the content, with a new book being produced each term for what is expected to be learnt in that time.

“The approach is very uniform across all the schools,” said Mr Hirst. “Some have a slightly different offer than others, but all subjects in the national curriculum are common and each school covers the same material and core knowledge.

“We expect individual teachers to add their own interests, knowledge and personality to lessons.”

So far, Mr Hirst said, the organisers were proving popular with pupils and their parents, as a good way of tracking knowledge development at a time when direct contact with teaching staff is limited, and he said everyone had learnt a lesson from the experience of the first lockdown.

“Schools have to constantly be imaginative, creative and resourceful in these times,” he said. “In the first lockdown teachers had to learn how to use new technology and prepare lessons for distance learning. Work would be set for students and expected to be completed by a given time.

“This time we have been keen on maintaining structure and direct contact with students. All students follow their normal timetable and the vast majority of lessons have a live input with their class teacher. Our schools use Google Classroom as the main channel of communication and overall it is going very well.”

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