Find out more about what makes Ealing Independent College such a great place to learn
There can be little doubt that this lockdown feels an awful lot more difficult to get through than the last. Perhaps it's because of the gloom and miserable weather; the lack of light and ‘January blues'. Or maybe it's because the patience of the country has worn thin having gone through the false hope that one set of restrictions in 2020 might be enough. It could be genuine dismay at seeing the scenes in overrun hospitals up and down the country. There is the chance that people are just sick of Zoom calls and working from home, and that they miss daily interactions with others, feeling like prisoners in their own homes.
At Ealing Independent College, we've enjoyed a strong academic tradition, and have the luxury of being able to offer stability in teaching and, through our small class sizes, the ability to provide extensive levels of support for our students where necessary. Transition during the first lockdown was hectic, but teachers worked incredibly hard to make it work shifting classroom lessons over the course of a weekend to live online sessions. The feedback we received from parents showed that it was effective:
““ Thank you for all the lessons and projects that the pupils have been receiving and all the support given to them at this challenging time. The College has been amazing throughout all of this and we are really grateful.”
To this, Allan Cairns, Principal of Ealing Independent College, has said “While it is great to receive such feedback, I am aware that we can, of course, do more”.
There was a certain sense of togetherness during the first lockdown, which occurred, largely because a unique set of circumstances had been created. It was, to an extent, a novelty which some students really warmed to. In many ways, students at the College are very fortunate: they have access to live lessons, supported by Google Classroom, where extensive resources are posted frequently. Should they find difficulty within their learning, they can email staff directly and arrange further support, through a Meet or simply by checking their understanding through questions.
Furthermore, being part of Bellevue Education has helped the College get to grips with the limitations placed on teachers in terms of skills within the online environment; the lack of support for parents and the dearth of accessible and user-friendly content to assist learning. Every student at the College can borrow a Chromebook where needed to support their learning.
However, the one group of people arguably hit hardest in this lockdown are parents. Research from Oxford University outlined that levels of anxiety and stress increased due to lockdown, with many parents finding ‘difficulty relaxing', becoming ‘easily upset or agitated' or feeling ‘fearful and worried'. In November, the Duchess of Cambridge warned of a dramatic increase in loneliness and a rise in a sense of being ‘cut off' and ‘isolated'. Parents seek structure, guidance and reassurance but not ‘punitive' amounts of worksheets for their sons and daughters and the problem seems more acute in secondary schools, with 45% of those with secondary-age children concerned about their children's education and future, compared to 32% of those with young children.
So what can we do to help at the College?
In an effort to provide an outlet for students, parents and teachers in need, we have developed the EIC Hub - a freely available, extensive and user friendly resource which contains materials to support the study of all GCSE and A Level courses at the College. All of our staff, utilising their sizable collective expertise, have contributed to this and they can be used to structure learning of a syllabus or as a revision aid.
It is the resources we provide to our own students, coupled with the small class sizes and extensive support both in lessons and pastorally around the general College that we believe really shapes the learning environment for every one of our students. In sharing these resources, we want to provide prospective students with an initial insight into our teaching styles, content and approach.
Allan Cairns, Principal - “To my mind, it is incumbent on those who can help to do so and I hope that when the Hub is launched it fulfils a modicum of support in the challenging times we are going through”.
You can access the Hub here: HUB
January 27, 2021