2020-21 What a Year
This year has no doubt been a challenge for schools up and down the country. We are so proud of the way our schools, staff and pupils and communities have responded to these extraordinary times.
Our teachers and pupils have not only adapted to online learning and restrictions, they have explored creative alternatives with energy, enthusiasm and passion. From a wonderful array of virtual exhibitions to online events and home challenges, lockdown and the pandemic has spurred such inventive ways to stay connected, continue learning and to look after ourselves across the Trust. Returning after the second lockdown, our school communities showed such resilience and adaptability throughout the year, and our staff and pupils have managed to make special memories in school and at home. Here we share just a few of the highlights of this unusual but inspiring year from our schools.
Prioritising our Mental Health & Wellbeing
Remote learning and working have increased our awareness of pupil and staff wellbeing. We have seen a number of fantastic projects to support and teach our young people about looking after their mental health. Our secondaries have been promoting wellbeing resources, and Hatcham College has introduced ‘Wellness Wednesdays’ and ‘Fun Fridays’. Our primaries have been participating in wellbeing activities inside and outside the classroom.
Pupils at the Free School have been enjoying outdoor learning sessions in their ‘Edible Playground’ and the ‘Wild Space’ and Hatcham Temple Grove promoted Mental Health Awareness week in May by spending more time outdoors and exploring nature. Our primary schools also celebrated the individuality of each and every member of their school through their ‘Express Yourself’ project during online learning over lockdown. This term, Crayford Temple Grove uncovered a time capsule from 2000 and created their own one to record some of their most treasured memories from this time through poetry, artwork, videos and writing. This really encapsulated what makes their school community special and how they have come together during this unusual time.
Opening up conversations about Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
Our schools have actively engaged with awareness dates and events such as Black History Month, Pride, and International Women’s Day. October marked Black History Month, and pupils participated in a collaboration of workshops, performances and projects across the curriculum. At Crayford Academy, the Sixth Form Newspaper team have been reflecting on relevant topics, such as Black History, in their school newspaper the ‘Sixth Sense’. They have worked hard throughout the year to engage with current issues and debates, showcase their interests and talent, and keep spirits high during lockdown.
Our schools celebrated International Women’s Day at the start of March through a variety of projects, debates, and interviews in line with this year’s theme, ‘Choose to Challenge’. Pupils from Hatcham College, Knights Academy and Crayford Academy had the opportunity to ask questions to Victoria Atkins MP. These events and activities were fantastic opportunities to deepen pupils’ understanding of gender inequality and stereotypes, and well as celebrating the achievements of girls and women in our schools, and worldwide.
Slade Green Temple Grove has been working with its local community to celebrate its cultural diversity through a variety of events, namely Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month, Pride Month, Windrush Day and most recently, Culture Day. This was a wonderful day of music, dancing, storytelling and language lessons from around the world. This term, Borough Academy launched 'My Family, Our Borough', a project created in collaboration with the Migration Museum in Lewisham. Pupils attended a live session at the Museum where they learnt about migration stories, and then explored their own family histories through the prism of food.
Learning in and out of the classroom
Despite the challenges of this year, pupils have been engaged with their learning. Enjoyment and progress in reading has been a focus at Knights Temple Grove. Pupils have been enthusiastically engaging in books and this has created a real buzz around the school. Our schools celebrated World Book Day in March through a number of competitions.
In the secondaries, pupils have attended career events, and participated in work experience placements. Knights Academy led a virtual work experience programme for schools across Lewisham, in which students had the opportunity work with experts in their area of interest, and a group of Sixth form students took part in a virtual work experience event with the Cabinet Office.
Trips and Celebrations
As restrictions have lifted in the final term, pupils have enjoyed larger scale events and trips. Sports days went ahead across our schools, and it was brilliant to see Crayford Academy and Crayford Temple Grove pupils coming together to celebrate the event. The last few weeks of term have seen trips to the beach, around London, amusement parks and more. The schools held graduation ceremonies and leavers proms to say goodbye to Year 6, Year 11 and Year 13 pupils.
Back to School!
The greatest success of this academic year must be that our schools have managed to get all the pupils back on site and the schools have been filled with the buzz of chatter and laughter once again!