With schools in Qatar now closed as part of the country’s coronavirus containment measures, teachers face the challenge of enabling their pupils to continue their education remotely. This is a challenge which has been enthusiastically taken up by teachers, pupils and parents at Sherborne Qatar and has encouraged the school to consider different ways of delivering a modern education.
Through the medium of the school’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) staff in both Sherborne Qatar’s Prep and Senior schools have been setting the pupils engaging and stimulating tasks which cover the whole curriculum. To help the pupils fulfil these tasks, supporting materials and videos have also been posted. These have ranged from a guide for parents to help their children in Reception with phonics and reading, to extension material to stretch and stimulate 6th Form pupils who are preparing for A Level examinations. Staff are in contact with pupils through class blogs and live ‘online’ sessions and pupils are receiving feedback on work submitted and the next steps for their learning. There have even been posts from the school’s PE team on exercise regimes which pupils can follow at home to maintain their fitness and healthy living.
Pupils at Sherborne Qatar are encouraged to take the same approach to their work as they would do in school and staff have been monitoring virtual attendance, which has been averaging 97%. Staff are also in daily contact with their pupils through various forums and pupils have been posting their work to teachers, for marking and guidance.
Sherborne Qatar’s distance learning has been well received by pupils and parents alike. Typical of parental comment was one parent observing, ‘It has been positive and we appreciate how rapidly the school has responded to this extraordinary situation and how organised the teachers have been in providing learning materials.’ One A Level pupil commented that, ‘We were a little apprehensive as to what this would mean for our final preparations but the staff have been fantastic and the material they have supplying has been brilliant.’
Meanwhile, preparations continue for the opening of Sherborne Qatar School for Girls at Al Ebb in the autumn. Building work is well in hand and the Headmistress Jane Goldsack is, subject to incoming flights’ restrictions, due to arrive in Doha in April. The Registrar is continuing to receive applications and, during the current closure, applicants are being assessed by various electronic means.
Similarly, building work is progressing for the Senior School’s move to a new state-of-the-art building in the Grand Zone adjacent to the Mall of Qatar, which is scheduled to open in 2021. This move is eagerly anticipated and will enable the school to further extend the range of options available.
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