I wanted to write to you to provide you with some updates and information during this time of continued disruption.
Last week we sent information confirming that we had no further information about a return to school date. Later in the week we received a notice that confirmed that schools in Guangdong will not be opening at the beginning of March. The Bureau may still announce the opening date in the month of March and will provide at least one week’s notice of the date. This process will be made in consultation with health authorities and as part of a wider coordinated effort in the interests of public safety.
Despite the disruption, we are well placed. Students had already completed much of the content to be covered in preparation for summer examinations, and our programme of study continues to be delivered through our online learning provision.
We have seen very high levels of engagement in our online learning platform (for example, over 5000 Teams messages between our teachers and students within 5 days, and this excludes other group messaging platforms being used) and have adapted based on feedback from students, teachers and parents. Thank you for completing the survey we sent out to you. This has been immensely helpful. I can tell you that feedback from our parent community has been by far the most positive across the Dulwich family of schools. How lucky we are to have such supportive and understanding parents. Thank you for your ongoing partnership with us.
Last week, in recognition of that feedback, we moved to a wider model of providing face-to-face video conferencing support for students with their teachers in addition to the provision that was already in place. Students continue to access learning resources, complete set assignments, communicate with each other and their teachers through forums and other messaging platforms, and are receiving feedback in a range of different ways in support of their learning. The additional face-to-face opportunities, which are spread out over the day, are important to ensure our students and teachers feel more connected at a time of relative isolation.
I understand that at a time of uncertainty, some families will feel a sense of anxiety and worry. Please be reassured that we are currently working very hard planning for a number of possible future scenarios that are dependent on how long this period of disruption extends. Much of this planning has been in consultation with other Dulwich College International schools and our Head Office. We will be communicating with you the details of these measures once we are clearer on our return to school date. The measures fall into 3 broad categories:
- What do we need to put in place should this period of disruption extend for a significantly longer period. These contingencies are very much focused on logistical and organisational plans.
- What impact does this period of disruption have on our calendared commitments (Eg Admissions events, parent-teacher conferences, dates of the Spring break)
- What provision can we make once we return in support of our holistic education programme to ensure that our students benefit from all the advantages of being in a Dulwich school. These plans are very much focused on teaching and learning provision, and on our pastoral and wellbeing support.
So, as we begin our 4th week of online learning, can I thank you again for the support you continue to give as we all work together in partnership for our students.
We will, of course, provide you with any updates as soon as we are able to.