MARK HALL ACADEMY is the latest addition to a number of schools across the UK that have transitioned to online learning.
The school joined the BMAT family of schools earlier this year, and has launched real-time remote lessons for the first time.
Vice Principal Rachel Braniff, new to the school and Trust, said: “Our children are now following their traditional timetable, with both teachers and students on screen together. These lessons are as good as an in-school lesson. There has been a huge injection from BMAT to give laptops to children who needed them. When the last few laptops have been distributed, we will have 100 per cent of our students accessing online learning.”
At the beginning of the partial school closure, Mark Hall academy had 170 work packages delivered to the homes of students who could not access the internet. With many families struggling with lack of technology, the Trust has bought and distributed laptops to those unable to join lessons from home.
Vice Principle Braniff followed with: “We have reduced lesson time slightly from one hour to forty five minutes as online lessons can be intense and it gives students an opportunity to step away from the screen to complete tasks and homework. Teachers are really appreciating that voice-to-voice interaction with their students this time around.
“Students are interacting with their teachers, they can ask questions and their learning is being checked. That is a vast difference to before.”
The transition is widely appreciated by parents as well, with Mum Julia Wilson saying: “I am so impressed with home schooling this lockdown. They have it spot-on. The children have their heads down most of the day and everything is running so smoothly.”
Vice Principle Braniff finished with: “We have had a lot of support from BMAT. CEO Helena Mills is a real ‘roll up your sleeves’ hands-on person. Decisions are made quickly and that is really refreshing.
“We are speaking to people at other BMAT schools as much as we are speaking to those in our own school. People are offering support; there is a real sharing culture which is really evident. That is exciting.”