The moment teachers, pupils and parents have been longing for - back to school!
As we prepare for the early morning rush, school runs and pick-ups, it’s important to remember that there will still be a number of restrictions in place that will interrupt school life as we know it. More than ever, regular communication between schools, parents and pupils will be critical.
With this in mind, over the next few weeks, we will be sharing some useful tips that will support your school as you prepare to welcome back all pupils.
Tip #1: Keep communication clear and consistent
COVID-19 is still prominent within society, and with that brings stringent guidelines. It’s important to communicate regularly with parents and pupils the measures you have in place as you prepare to welcome them all back.
Likewise, prompting parents to raise any concerns prior to their child returning to school will help you put the necessary procedures in place before they become a problem longer-term.
Through experience, we understand that school staff spend hours trying to contact parents to share their return to school policies and procedures, which often ends in voicemail ping-pong.
To keep parents informed in a simple, efficient manner, we recommend implementing a parent communication tool, such as Tucasi’s Communications module. It will allow you to send messages direct to a parent’s device in real-time, sharing critical information as and when required.
Tip #2: Support your class as they adjust to the new normal
The return to school is a big adjustment for pupils - even for those who’ve been attending school during this time; the change in working environment may take a while to adapt to and with potential anxiety for some.
Therefore, it’s important to support your pupils as they adjust.
In addition, some pupils may require extra support as a result of home schooling; there could be a slight gap between those learning from home, to those learning in the classroom. Figuring out where each child is with their learning early on, will help you establish who needs that extra bit of help.
Let’s not forget that the COVID-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented effect on many - in particular, our children. Monitor the mental wellbeing of both your pupils and staff and support those who may be struggling. Last month, Public Health England launched a free online training course to better equip people to support children and young people’s mental health during emergencies and crisis situations.
Tip #3: Bring back the fun
School activities are essential when it comes to engaging your pupils - they help inject some fun back into learning!
Not all school activities need to be extravagant, costly or time-consuming for teachers and admin teams, but should merely enhance your pupils’ overall learning experience and lift their mood. Some schools, for example, run virtual talent shows, a ‘Friday Funday’ quiz and competitions to help boost wellbeing.
You may wish to run these activities for free, or if you require a small donation from parents, you should use an online payment system. Tucasi’s Online Payments module, for example, enables parents, guardians or carers to make payments by credit or debit card, on the go, wherever they are.
But, if running school activities isn’t on your agenda just yet, Mrs Mactivity has launched lots of free resources to help children process the past few months, whilst celebrating positive things that have happened, and thinking about the future.
Tip #4: Get parents and guardians involved
Understandably, many parents and guardians may be feeling anxious about their child returning to school full time.
To alleviate any concerns, it’s important to reiterate the measures you have in place to keep pupils safe. As mentioned before, using a parent communication tool, such as Tucasi’s Communications module, will help with this.
Likewise, keep them updated about their child’s learning and development. Hearing that their child is happy, making good progress with their learning and adapting to the new measures well, will naturally dissolve any worries parents and guardians may be having.
Tip #5: Celebrate the end-of-term
Celebrating the hard work that your pupils have put in throughout the term, and sharing success stories, can enhance wellbeing.
You could host a small-scale event for class bubbles, or go virtual with a school-wide or year group assembly, award ceremony or presentation - anything that can't be run face-to-face in line with current restrictions.
These types of events are vital for parent and student engagement, along with that much-needed morale boost.
But, if organising such events aren’t on the cards just yet, there are still a number of small gestures you can do to make a big difference; you could highlight success stories and standout pieces of work in a school newsletter, or share across the school website and social media channels.
Whichever activity you choose, by letting pupils know when they’re doing well, will boost confidence and motivate your other learners, ready for next term.
We hope you found our tips useful. If you have any questions about the points raised in this article, contact us on 02380 016 563 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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