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Alpha News, Term 3, Week 6

From the Principal

As Victoria passes more than 200 days in lockdown, we come to terms with the fact that we have had more than 150 days of Remote Learning. It is difficult to ignore the impact that this is having on students, staff and their families.

While some students have managed the Remote Learning periods well, without having to worry about the usual issues of maturation, friendship groups, body image and the like on full display in front of their peers, others are finding the isolation taking a real toll on their wellbeing.

What we are now seeing is that everyone is stretched thin and the cracks are starting to appear, particularly in this period of Lockdown where parks and playgrounds are now off limits. Families are trying to support, in some cases, two, three and four children as well as manage their own work loads. This is not the way any of us would see education and learning taking place.

Staff are acutely aware of the changing mood and engagement of some children and we have been ensuring that tasks are manageable within the time frames permitted and contact points are sensible.  A screen free day has already been given and we will monitor the impact that the additional screen time is having on students and staff so that we do not end up with more problems when we come out of this period.

The recent Principal’s forum held earlier this week indicates that the story is the same at all other schools, so I reach out to families to please not overly worry if the work cannot all be done in the manner that you are used to.  Please do not let it get to your children as well. Some will have very high expectations of themselves. With exams around the corner many senior students will be feeling the pressure greatly.

Expectations of us all need to be contained and realistic. Preparation time to deliver material and resources online usually takes three times as long to put together and explain than when the students are in the classroom and collaborative learning can take place.

We will, as we have done in the past, undertake a skills gap analysis to determine what essential elements may need further work when the students all return to on site learning. We are planning to have more staff on hand to run booster and breakout sessions. Holiday classes will need to run for some subject areas and support staff will be in place so that we can close any identified gaps.

The most important thing to watch now is the wellbeing of our children and ourselves.

Dr Vivianne Nikou

School Principal