When five families originally made the decision to join the Trent College community in April 2020, they could never have imagined that their children would not actually be travelling to the school campus. So what has it been like to join a school during lockdown?
In mid-March, as news of the Coronavirus pandemic and expected lockdown spread, schools made plans for teaching pupils remotely. IT systems were deployed, passwords updated, training provided, pupils prepared for how everything would work. Meanwhile, the admissions team started to consider how we could make the experience of joining Trent as a new pupil just as positive as it would be in normal circumstances.
Yes, you can join a virtual school
First off, it was important to confirm that yes, our schools will be open, lessons will be taking place during lockdown, and our new pupils are very welcome. This was especially important for Joseph, who was in a rather unusual situation. Due to join Trent in September after relocating from Bahrain, Joseph was visiting the UK when travel restrictions came into force. Unable to return home without lengthy stays in isolation, Joseph’s family asked for him to join Trent early. We were delighted to receive this recent feedback on how he’s getting on.
“We appreciate the school’s flexibility regarding Joseph’s entry date unexpectedly moving forward and the reassurance we have received from you during this difficult time and transition. Joseph has both surprised and delighted us with his positive attitude and approach to this new chapter and unexpected necessary switch from his school to Bahrain to Trent College, which we feel is mainly down to his ‘taster days’ in February.”
But how would the children settle in?
Children often express two main worries when moving school – finding their way around and making friends. Well, newcomers in April may have been spared navigating the Trent campus, but finding their way around a plethora of new technology is no small challenge. Making friends with people they haven’t met face to face might also have been tricky. It has been wonderful to witness how our new joiners have thrived in these circumstances, already showing us how much they will bring to our school.
“My daughter couldn’t have been made more welcome by everyone involved. I know she feels part of the community, her tutor has been fantastic in supporting her. We had video chats with her Tutor as well as the Head of Year. She feels able to speak with her Tutor, if she is unsure of anything and just as important to a 13 year old, the girls in the year have been in touch and she is now connected via social media, which she is thrilled about.” (Year 9 parent)
“Our daughter has enjoyed the first week, in particular the variety of ways in which the teaching has been delivered. It has been lovely for her to hear the teachers speaking, and many of the teachers have messaged her separately to introduce themselves which is wonderful.” (Year 7 parent)
“She is absolutely loving it – having teachers who are so pro-active – we’re wishing she had joined Trent years ago! The hard work by yourself and your colleagues is very much appreciated, especially in these difficult times we are living in.” (Year 8 parent)
Reflecting on the comments we have received from the newest members of our school, it is heartening to think that they align so closely with the kind of messages we often receive in more normal times.
The characteristics that visitors often remark on during their tours of school – friendly, welcoming, warm, inclusive, caring – are all in evidence, even whilst we are physically apart from one another. They say that a community will pull together in the face of adversity, and that people will be stronger for meeting a challenge together. Trent is a community forged over 152 years, and we welcome our newest pupils into the world of remote teaching just as enthusiastically as we greet everyone who comes through the door.
If you are considering a place at Trent College or The Elms we would still love to hear from you. Whilst tours aren’t an option just at the moment, why not book a virtual appointment to meet the Head? Email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about our wonderful schools or to arrange a virtual meeting.