Remote learning quickly become a way of life for pupils across Stonyhurst when the pandemic hit. Teachers, parents and pupils swiftly adapted to learning away from the traditional classroom. At Stonyhurst, the focus was on safely ensuring a continuity of education for all pupils across academic, vocational and co-curricular studies. Thanks to the introduction of Stonyhurst Anywhere, we were able to provide remote online lessons, virtual assemblies, live-streamed masses and virtual weekly challenges.
What is Stonyhurst Anywhere?
Stonyhurst Anywhere was created to provide a Stonyhurst Jesuit education to pupils across the world and in the UK during the pandemic. Stonyhurst Anywhere is a bespoke approach to educational experience and Ignatian formation. It aimed to replicate, as well as is practically possible, the education and support pupils would receive within our school buildings.
Stonyhurst Anywhere contained a blend of live academic lessons, pastoral sessions, tutorials and meetings supported by recorded lessons, talks, resources and tasks. The structure of a timetable was provided for those whom this was most effective, with the flexibility of the recorded material to access and download according to personal learning style and time zone!
The ‘Stonyhurst Anywhere’ virtual learning environment recreated the cohesion provided by the daily shared experience. The reassurance of a shared academic and pastoral routine, including daily contact with teachers, deeply committed to their needs, was, as always, essential to a child’s learning and personal growth. All being fundamental to the core purpose of education in our Jesuit tradition – the improvement in living and learning. We believe that the children and the wider school family benefited from the guidance, stability, structure, commonality of purpose and anchorage to a school community from which all derive strong support.
The purpose of Stonyhurst Anywhere was to continue the momentum of individualised academic learning. A typical school day witnessed pupils meeting and interacting together virtually in ‘real time’, in order to continue the in-class group learning experience, learning at the same time in a virtual class or group session with their teacher and peers. This allowed for live interaction, instant feedback and clarification.
Our young people experienced virtual learning across different time zones. In some cases, pupils were able to learn in their own time. In these instances, pupils were still able to ask questions of their teachers and get real-time responses during the normal hours. Pupils in other time zones were able to access the clinic lesson comments later. This provided a flexible approach enabling pupils to work at their own pace and allowed the system to cater for all time zones across the world.
I think Stonyhurst Anywhere is fantastic and is clearly the result of significant investment and planning. Communication has been great, and provision across the board has been impressive. Both of our children have been fully engaged and occupied, with zero requirement for intervention or 'home-school' support from a parental stand-point. Maintaining Playroom meetings, tutor groups and assemblies is a real bonus which provide informal interaction, and help to preserve the timetable, routine and formality, which will definitely pay dividends when things return to normal.
Pastoral care or ‘Cura Personalis’ (care for the entire person) remained a strength of Stonyhurst College, for every pupil, even when working remotely. Our daily assemblies followed the same pattern as usual including one-to-one meetings with Tutors. Assistant Heads and Tutors remained in close contact with pupils and their families to provide support. Our PSHE sessions continued with a particular focus on emotional wellbeing and online safety. Pastoral staff offered drop in sessions for pupils to provide continued support.
A Jesuit education at Stonyhurst places care for the individual at the centre of all that it does. Chaplaincy continued to provide pastoral support to all pupils seeking it, and through the virtual platform, our Chaplaincy team continued to make this available to all.
Comprehensive support and resources were made available for pupils, families and staff during the lockdown period, mindful of the particular challenges posed by the pandemic and the increased need to feel connected and spiritually nourished.
Our co-curricular offering during virtual learning adapted so that our pupils, and sometimes their families, could enjoy a wide range of activities throughout the week. Many societies continued to meet such as Model United Nations, the Windhover magazine editorial board, and Debating. Pupils were introduced to a wide range of opportunities including tours of museums such as the Vatican, the London Natural History Museum and the British Museum.
Our Interline Competition continued with a range of challenges from the press-up and running challenges, through to a DJ challenge and 'The Great Line Bake Off'. Pupils and their families also enjoyed a regular 'Pub Quiz' hosted online by our Quiz Master and Assistant Head of Co-Curricular, Mr Hanley.
Safeguarding at Stonyhurst remained at the forefront of everything we do. It was the first item on any meeting agenda and our policies and procedures remained as robust as ever. We carefully considered the wide-ranging implications of remote teaching and adapted our protocol accordingly and shared it among the school community; pupils, parents, and staff, to keep everybody safe online. To further support pupils, we provided a range of contact details for internal and external agencies, including the school counsellor, who can be contacted if required, as well as resources and materials to support and promote wellbeing.