SHS Library is a vibrant place of learning, well-stocked with books for pleasure and to support learning, computers for the students to use both in lessons and at break-times, a well-qualified Library Manager, a team of helpful Library Monitors, board games, puzzles, a Reading Circle, and a creative writing club.
Ofsted have rated the Library and its resources as ‘excellent’ and the Reading Challenge (see below) as ‘a model of its kind’.
The Library is one of the places students come to meet with their friends, get support with homework, find resources to support their learning, get advice on what to read next and then find a quiet spot to immerse themselves in their books or the variety of activities on offer, including chess and other board games, creative writing, or contributing to the Library by being a Library Monitor.
The Library is well used during lesson times when teachers bring groups of students in to use the resources. All Key Stage 3 students enjoy a fortnightly English lesson in the Library when they have an opportunity to their choice of book for pleasure. Other subject teachers bring students in to research their topics and to receive information skills sessions. Sixth Form students use the Library for supervised study periods or independent research, and have a dedicated range of books to support reading for pleasure, their A Level studies and to prepare them for University interviews.
The Reading Challenge takes place in the Library twice a week during Registration. This is where trained year 10 Reading Coaches help Year 7 students who may be struggling with their reading.
Our Author in Residence, Alexander Gordon Smith, runs creative writing workshops over the school year, working with all Year 7 students for a whole day in the Library. A published author and graduate of the UEA’s renowned Creative Writing course, with a mixture of humour and ghoulish tales he draws creative skills out of the students they didn’t know they had.
Our Reading Circle meets once a week and shadows the Carnegie Book Awards every year and we attend or host a Shadowing Conference on results day with other schools.
The Extended Project Qualification is offered in the Library to 6th Formers. This highly-regarded qualification gives them the skills they will be using for degree-level study and can lead to a lower grade offer from many top Universities if they achieve the highest grades in the EPQ. The course has been running since 2014 and, so far, every student who has completed it has achieved A*/A grades.
I also liaise with the organisation ‘Speakers for Schools’ and we have benefitted in the past from a visit by entrepreneur Stanley Jackson, who gave an inspirational talk about aspiring to succeed to Year 9 students. We were also thrilled that Sir Peter Bazalgette (pictured), Chair of Arts Council (England) visited our 6th Form to address our students. More recently, Will Lawes, an eminent Corporate Lawyer and Financial/Asset Management Chief Executive, visited our 6th Formers, Business Studies students and Years 10/11 Scholars. He gave a fascinating talk about his role, the wider business world and the implications of Brexit.
Alex Steward, BA(Hons), DipRSA, Aclip
A massive thank you to all our parents and carers for your feedback on how remote learning is going!
As we all learn more about how we can work together while apart, we will continue to refine what we do and get better at it. We will continue to contact you about how your child is doing and keep you informed of how best they can be helped. Stay safe.
There’s nothing ‘remote’ about learning at SHS!
Everything about the Covid crisis has been about distance. We must be physically apart, we might find ourselves emotionally apart and we have been compelled to be educationally apart.
Recent press headlines and discussions have focused on the difficulties of engaging students without in-person contact. Some press reports have used ‘statistics’ gathered in dubious ways to talk about the percentages of students who are actually working remotely. Indeed, a recent study by UCL has suggested that 20% of students have done ‘little or no school work’ since lockdown.
Whatever the alleged ‘national picture’ of student engagement in distanced learning, the crucial question that has emerged is: how do we engage learners when we are not together physically? It’s a complicated question and, as with most issues, there isn’t one solution, one style, or one computer program for increasing learner engagement and motivation. But the answer, as with many things educational, seems to be what many of us call ‘common sense’!
Research seems to say that ‘online’ teachers need to combine multiple strategies to reach learners and, unsurprisingly, they must be behavioural, cognitive and emotional. In short, teachers must set a variety of work. They must reply and feedback early and often; building relationships. There must be regular, simple parental feedback so that the carer knows what work is actually being submitted. There must be a caring ear and a personal call for students and parents.
Here, at Sheringham High and Sixth, we set work which can be done independently and in REAL households with all their individual restrictions such as connectivity issues and multiple use computers. We mark and feed back quickly. We track students fortnightly. Student managers and tutors ring home personally!
So, let me share our actual statistics since the closure on March 23rd at Sheringham High given that 20% of students nationally seem not to have been engaged by their staff. On average, each of our students has completed 73% of the work set on time. Only 0.4% of students has completed no work since lockdown. Over one third of all our Year 7,8,9 and 10 students has submitted over 90% of their work on time. A quarter has done ALL work set! Since March 23rd, our students have watched 7033 podcasts on our GCSE Pod portal; usage doubling since last year. Between March and June, 3079 individual pieces of work have been set by our staff for Years 7-10 and 435 for Year 12. Over half of our sixth form students has completed 100% of the work set.
If we believe what we are told about national statistics and the etymology of the word ‘remote’(to ‘push away’) what we have at Sheringham High and Sixth is an engaged, embraced learning community which is working well and bucking the national trend! Well done to students, parents, carers and staff!Stay safe!