Back to School in 2020
Since the government announced its #backtoschoolsafely campaign, there has been much uncertainty surrounding how schools will balance effective education while reducing the risks of infection.
Going to school in 2020 is a very different experience now, with strict social distancing measures and ‘bubbles’, children sitting in rows rather than collaborative group seating and limits to playground usage. This can be particularly challenging and disruptive for some of our youngest learners who often need the most hands-on strategies to meet their social and academic needs.
Mainstream schools might no longer suit children’s needs and home-schooling can be overwhelming or simply impractical for many families. So, for teachers and parents who are concerned about the challenges in this new environment, what can be done to minimise exposure while maximising educational opportunity?
There is a new and exciting option to explore: micro-schooling. A hybrid between mainstream school and home-schooling, where learning is prioritised above all else. The small structure of the school allows for natural bubbles to take place, without any of the complex measures larger schools must implement to ensure safety.
Trying to balance implementing COVID-secure measures and at the same time considering how to assess and help students ‘catch up on’ time missed due to COVID-19 is a complex challenge. As a teacher, I know how difficult this will be with a class of 32 children, adding real pressure to an already challenging time.
Micro-schools can provide not only a haven of normality for children during this uncertain time, but also opportunities for deep learning due to the unmatched teacher to pupil ratio. Personalised assessment, intervention and targeted teaching is much more realistic and manageable within a class of 4-6 than in a class of 32 and I think this is what will be necessary to attain the accelerated progress the government is expecting our children to make.
While micro-schools are not yet widespread in the UK, they are gaining momentum and interest due to the many benefits they can provide, with various research exploring how transformative they can be for education. You can read more about how micro-schools work here.
Giving children the opportunity to learn in calm, engaging and collaborative environments feels even more important now as we all navigate our way through the challenges and uncertainty COVID-19 has caused. If you’re interested in learning more about why I’m so passionate about micro-schooling and would like to find out more, please get in touch.