With everything that is going on in the world, it has been a pleasure to welcome back most of our pupils to enjoy the last few weeks of term. The grounds came to life with sounds of laughter, chatter and footsteps, bringing some normality to this strange time. Those who could not be back with us in person, have continued to learn and connect with their peers remotely and have been able to join us via Zoom and through the Connected School.
The first week back was certainly a great one, with lessons back in full swing and sports taking place again; there were smiles all round. Exercise has been something that we wanted to ensure pupils continued throughout lockdown, so it is great that they have now been able to play the sports they love on and off the courts in their various sporting activities.
“The pupils had an amazing array of both innovative asynchronous and creative live sessions available to them throughout lockdown (and they continue for those still at home). The highlights are plentiful across all sports, with football and netball house competitions, which was a real treat for junior and senior pupils” said Mr Searson.
After arriving back on campus, Dining Hall provided a welcome back meal. Carved roast beef from Foxholes Farm was a highlight on the menu, along with a pupil favourite dessert of pear and chocolate crumble with cream. Pupils enjoyed some time to socialise with their House over delicious food; something they have missed over the past few months.
In amongst the various sports sessions, pupils also took part in Field Day during the final weeks of term, where they had the chance to do some scuba diving, archery, woodland cooking and many more activities!
“After an extended period of lockdown the pupils have been delighted to re-engage with the co-curricular activities. I measure this in the usual way; by counting smiles on the pupils’ faces, I think what the pupils missed most was being together, playing sport, making music, spending time outdoors and being creative. They’ve come back to all these activities in their droves and with the usual level of commitment and enthusiasm” said Mr Head.
In Houses, our Housemasters and Housemistresses have been hosting a range of activities for the pupils to welcome them back. From BBQ’s and football matches, to s’mores toasting and ice cream sundae making, pupils are feeling at home.
Mrs Dawson said “we’ve hosted a vast array of activities in Allenby House including a Bodyshop evening, a Dominos pizza party, a house wii dance party, an online tea and chat for those girls still at home and more! The girls have been delighted to be back and to be reunited with their friends. Several of my local boarders have chosen to stay in at the weekends so that they can maximise the time spent with their friends. Personally, I have enjoyed the noise, the laughter, the energy and the excitement!”
Live concerts have also made a comeback during the final weeks of term, with pupils being able to perform live in Bradby Hall and be streamed to viewers at home. One concert, Should I Be The One? was a highlight as it celebrated the works of female composers and musicians from the 13th – 20th century in aid of International Women’s Day. Another highlight was the Not From Bradby Hall concert, which featured pupils playing acoustic instruments, Upper Sixth pupil Issy debuted her original song Sentimental which was enjoyed by all.
Despite not being able to be back on site, those learning remotely have continued to embrace every opportunity and have been keeping in touch with their peers as much as possible. We reached out to Lower Sixth pupil Luca, and Upper Sixth pupil Federico, to see how they have found having to continue remote learning and how they have been keeping in touch with their peers.
“I have always been very enthusiastic about remote learning and the teachers have done an amazing job. I have been learning remotely for two months now, but I always look forward to lessons and also the co-curricular activities that have been taking place on Google Meet. There have been so many House activities via Zoom, including pizza nights, quizzes, art competitions and an Easter baking competition. I am looking forward to re-joining my peers on site as I miss everyone a lot, but it has been quite easy to stay in touch with my friends on site through Zoom or on the phone” said Luca.
Federico mentioned “I believe that even if I had to do remote learning for a while, the way teachers teach is so engaging and so proactive in class that even if you are not physically in the room with them you still feel part of the conversation. At the start of the year I founded the School’s politics society, which has kept me busy alongside remote learning. I have been able to stay in touch with my friends in the House via Zoom for Friday night drinks and for Morning Call, but I can’t wait to join my peers on site and start breathing in the Haileybury spirit.”
We are looking forward to welcoming all pupils back and starting the Summer Term with more normality.