Education view: A year of embracing technology

File photo dated 04/03/20 of a person using a laptop at home. Universities in England should end in-

St Mary's School Hampstead put on a full timetable of virtual lessons from the first morning of lockdown - Credit: PA Images

At St Mary’s School Hampstead, we continually challenge ourselves to provide the best possible all-round educational opportunities.

Before a global pandemic was even a possibility, we had implemented a significant investment programme to deliver the most up-to-date teaching for our girls.
This forward-thinking investment in technology proved vital, ensuring we could quickly adapt to lockdown learning back in March.

In turn, we teach the pupils at St Mary’s to be global thinkers and instil social awareness. We recognise that our school community was incredibly fortunate to have ready access to computers, fast internet and tireless family support to enable a speedy transition from the physical to virtual classroom.

From the first morning of lockdown, the whole school was able to pivot to a full timetable of virtual lessons at home. I was delighted that music, art and sports remained an essential part of online school life.

Harriet Connor-Earl, headmistress at St Mary’s School Hampstead

Harriet Connor-Earl, headmistress at St Mary’s School Hampstead, says online learning has not slowed pupils' progress - Credit: George S Blonsky/Geo Picotorial

Although no substitute for the classroom, the benefits for many pupils have been tangible. Not only have our children have increased their technological fluency, it has inspired their creativity, especially within writing and problem-solving. Interestingly, our comprehensive standardised testing has demonstrated that the online learning has not slowed our pupils’ progress.

Far from technology replacing the skills of a teacher, this experience has highlighted how our talented teachers can enthusiastically embrace and deploy technologies creatively. Collaboration became evermore important and feedback was transformed too. Written marking was enhanced by voice notes and video messages.

As we look forward to the new year, technology will enable St Mary’s to continue to offer outstanding teaching and learning in a new educational environment that is here to stay. Our next challenge is to question how we can share our learnings and resources to those who may not have had the same rewarding experiences of lockdown learning.

St Mary’s School Hampstead provides an outstanding and inspirational Catholic education to girls from 3-11 years.

Please join the St Mary’s School Hampstead Virtual Visits throughout next term. To meet Mrs Connor-Earl and book your personal tour of the School, please register here or call 020 7435 1868.

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