Learning in Lockdown
Welcome to our Learning in Lockdown Gallery, showing learning that has been created over the last few weeks! This page will be updated regularly until we re-open.
Wednesday 22 July 2020
A final song with a number of students and staff performing Walking in Sunshine, arranged and organised by Miss Kearns!
Friday 17th July 2020
We are proud to publish a bumper edition of our final Learning in Lockdown Gallery for the academic year. We have been inundated with fabulous examples of student work which really comes as no surprise given that we have now issued in excess of 1500 Headteacher e-Commendations for outstanding work and effort. Our celebrations do not end at this point, though, as we are busy preparing for our virtual Awards Ceremonies which will go out on the final day of the year, one for each House, and which will recognise a large number of students for their academic and pastoral endeavours and will also celebrate tenacity, commitment to learning and those who have striven to overcome adversity. The vast majority of our students really have demonstrated great resilience and the ability to work independently both during the year and during school closure. Many have enjoyed significant support from their families too, at a time when pressures have been immense. We are incredibly grateful for the support students have received from parents and families in home-schooling and for ensuring they have maintained their school routine.
This week, in Computing, we have seen students’ highly innovative programs written predominantly in Python. These programs are designed to run card games, create abstract shapes and have a whole range applications in a language that has enjoyed a real resurgence in recent years and is particularly popular in the gaming and defence industries.
Students in Technology have also been thinking about high-tech designs. The 'Procrastination Bot' was particularly interesting and the idea of having a desk-based bot to bark instructions, reminders and prompts at you would certainly have huge commercial potential in today's current climate! It has been a very well-conceived idea that has caused our staff great amusement. We have also seen some superb coffee shop designs demonstrating that spending so long in isolation has done nothing to stifle student creativity.
Students in Year 7 Drama have been working on scripted pieces and some of those students have shown real courage by filming their endeavours and sending them to us; we have enjoyed them immensely. This really is to be applauded given that most of our Year 7 students have enjoyed no more than 30 formal Drama lessons in their school careers to date. Many of our students have continued participating in sporting endeavours too. Following the success of our virtual Sports Day, we have continued to see some innovative approaches to collaborative sport and have enjoyed a particularly pleasing video
demonstrating socially distanced trampolining. We have even enjoyed a stop motion animation film
using Lego to depict the consequences of an oil spill.
Our students in Food and Nutrition have been working on menu planning but have also undertaken a great deal of work examining scientific processes in food preparation, including concepts like foam formation and aeration. Many of their practical offers would not look out of place in a Michelin starred restaurant. How the curriculum has changed drastically since choux pastry represented a challenge for students of Home Economics in the 1980s!
Students in Modern Foreign Languages have enjoyed dipping into their own 'menus' and engaging with cooking, art and culture in France, Germany and Spain. We have seen fabulous examples of German cuisine illustrating a deep understanding of regional specialities and variations across the country. Our students of Spanish have created Picasso and Gaudi-inspired artworks which are truly beautiful. Not to be outdone, our students of French have demonstrated a deep love of languages by immersing themselves in the target language through the medium of film and music and creating stunning Klimt-inspired art work. It has been a veritable joy to receive examples of this amazing work.
The History Department has continued to receive some truly thought-provoking entries to our Greatest Black Briton competition and these entries show the great ability that our students have to evaluate and analyse the contributions made by others.
We are immensely proud of the efforts of our students and the work that we have shared with you through our Learning in Lockdown Gallery over the weeks of closure. We are also enormously proud of our staff for the so very engaging opportunities that they have consistently provided for our students during this time. We know our students will thrive when they re-join us formally, in September, and wish them a very well-deserved and happy Summer break.
Friday 10th July 2020
The volume of work flooding into our ‘Exemplary Lockdown Learning’ inbox has returned to normal and, this week, we have been inundated once again. The publication of large volumes of Government guidance in respect of the return to school in September and changes in subject content and examination specifications has not diminished staff’s appetite to celebrate excellent work and endeavour. No doubt, many students featured in this week's gallery will go on to receive Headteacher e-Commendations in the coming weeks too. Thus far, 875 Headteacher Commendations have been issued and we very much hope that students and parents have enjoyed receiving these.
We would like to congratulate all our students who participated in the UK Maths Challenge. The circumstances of their participation were certainly very different to the usual student experience but we are delighted that so many students chose to participate and we again had many awards at Bronze, Silver and Gold levels.
The History Department has continued to be highly impressed by the thoughtful way in which students have engaged with their Greatest Black Briton assignment and the exceptional research that has informed some very considered and original responses. Furthermore, our Year 7 students have really embraced the opportunity to investigate social and economic History by examining the divide between rich and poor in 19th Century London - a topic that continues to be pertinent today, of course.
Our Science Department has enjoyed sharing the work that students have been undertaking in a collaborative project with Geography; students have been exploring the properties and recycling of metals from both a scientific and geographical perspective.
The end-of-term may be drawing near but energy certainly does not appear to be flagging. We have received some wonderful compositions and performances, particularly from our Music Technology
students. The Design and Technology Department has also been delighted with the fitness tracker designs that students have been formulating. Enthusiasm for this project appears to be very high and, hopefully, has been inspired not only by Joe Wicks and his relentless pursuit of engaging the nation in physical activity, but also by our own promotion of sport. Participation in our Virtual Sports Day certainly did not disappoint either and we very much enjoyed seeing examples of students’ (and staffs’!) physical endeavour from the photos and videos that we received.
The end of term is approaching rapidly and we could not be more excited at the prospect of welcoming all our students back to our campus in September. However, we will be sharing more examples of student brilliance before the term concludes and we hope that our entire Calthorpe community will enjoy our Annual Awards Ceremony, in a virtual and by-House format this year, on the final day of term.
It has been another busy week at Calthorpe Park with Year 10 students very much enjoying their English, Maths and Science lessons and our teachers of Options subjects eagerly looking forward to welcoming them back to their lessons from 10th July. In addition, we hope all students are continuing to view our weekly virtual assemblies and that all will energetically strive to participate in our virtual Sports Day.
This has been the first week when our 'excellent work' mailbox has not been flooded with examples of our students’ fantastic contributions. In part, this is because many staff, in a wide range of subjects, are teaching face-to-face, preparing and delivering virtual live-lessons. But they have also been spending a great deal of time nominating students for our Headteachers’ Gold and Silver e-Commendations. Many students whose work has appeared in our Learning in Lockdown Gallery over the weeks will find commendations making their way to their inboxes over the remaining weeks of this term. We thank those parents who fed back so positively following last week’s launch and, moving forward, we hope parents whose children are selected for a Gold or Silver Commendation in the weeks to come will similarly celebrate their achievement with them.
We are delighted with how positively our lower school students have been engaging with our Greatest Black Briton project in History; this project will serve as a precursor to our Black Peoples of the Americas Programme of Study that students will be undertaking, going forward. And we have received some fabulous entries to our competition thus far.
Design and Technology continues to receive some innovative design work for their Fitness Tracker project, with some students going as far as experimenting with prototypes.
Our Music Department has seen its drop boxes flooded with some great composition and performance work (click here for some examples) – this bodes really well for the launch of our end-of-year Music event - details will be coming soon and everybody will be welcome to participate in a virtual way.
Receiving amazing examples of student work really has been a joy and cause for celebration among our staff body. We share these routinely across departments and it has very much lifted our spirits, particularly during some of the busiest days!
Friday 26th June 2020
It has been so good to welcome our Year 10 students back this week for lessons in English, Maths and Science. Meanwhile, other departments have been keeping them fully occupied in the afternoons with lots of online learning activities. Our staff are very much enjoying greater contact with students. We are in an essentially ‘relationships profession’ and teaching behind a screen is rather lonely! And this is even more the case for us at CPS because we are incredibly fortunate to enjoy such wonderfully positive relationships with our students.
The wealth of online activities on offer has not diminished the inflow of outstanding work submitted by our students - work that so amply demonstrates their resilience, tenacity and independence. The Music Department has been overwhelmed by the quality of compositional and performance work that students have engaged in remotely. Whilst being able to enjoy these offerings, it is not a substitute for the plethora of extra-curricular activities that are ordinarily on offer at Calthorpe Park, however, it has gone some way to demonstrating the superb talents and intrinsic motivation that our students have.
The History Department has enjoyed seeing students in Year 8 challenge misconceptions and conspiracy theories by investigating and formulating hypotheses that are rooted in factual evidence. They have certainly risen to the challenge and, through questioning and critically evaluating information, they have produced some very insightful pieces of work examining the Moon Landings and the Assassination of John F Kennedy - so pertinent in today's world of 'fake news'!
Our lower school students are enjoying their new virtual rotations in Design Technology. We are seeing another iteration of innovative gumball machine designs and the creation of activity trackers that would be worthy of manufacture and resale. Their designs would certainly challenge existing brands that currently dominate the sector!
As ever, it has been a pleasure to share this wonderful work with you and we look forward to sharing more great examples next week.
Friday 19th June 2020
We have thoroughly enjoyed welcoming our Year 10 students back to campus this week and have been delighted to hear all about their routines, learning and progress since school closed in March. The common thread, that has run through the majority of these conversations, has been how our students have grown, showing great maturity and responsibility and demonstrating how they have found creative solutions to mediate their own learning to great effect.
Work submissions this week also indicate that such development is not exclusive to our older students but is also illustrated throughout all our year groups and as ever, it has been a great pleasure to receive work and to send home positive feedback and achievement points. We miss having those congratulatory conversations with students in person and look forward to being able to engage in spontaneous exchanges in the not too distant future.
The Science Department have shared some delightful work this week relating to pollination which seems particularly pertinent as a swarm of bees has joined us on site today! Students have also been studying magnetism, demonstrating deep and detailed understanding of these concepts together with an ability to apply their knowledge to problem-solving scenarios.
Once again, we have enjoyed seeing and hearing about the culinary delights created by our students of Modern Foreign Languages. Inspired by Mr Robins and his You Tube videos, we enjoyed a student-produced clip in which they created some Spanish staples, so taking our food envy to whole new levels!
Our English Department has been inspiring further creativity and one of our students has written a murder mystery. Not only have they written it, but they managed to produce a video for us too. For many staff, this certainly invoked memories of great hilarity enjoyed at CPSA Murder Mystery Events – hopefully, before too long, we will again be able to enjoy another such evening, although, given the sterling efforts demonstrated, I suspect Mr Amos may be planning on broadening the creative team responsible for the delivery of such events to include our student writers!
While our risk-assessed physical site may look rather different currently as we look forward to seeing Year 10 students back in classrooms for teaching next week, our ethos and values remain the same and it is heartening to see these permeating so many aspects of home-learning at this time. We look forward to sharing more wonderful examples of student work with you next week.
Friday 12th June 2020
Another wonderful week of finding our mailboxes and Moodle fora inundated with more superb examples of work illustrating the commitment and independence that our students demonstrate on a daily basis.
The English department has received a further array of amazingly creative depictions of Romeo and Juliet, ranging from computer-generated animations to plush figures. We wonder how many of our students’ future career paths might be inspired by their experiences as a result!
The History department is extremely proud of the high quality work that Year 10 students have submitted. They have shown that they are able to grapple with difficult concepts and explore, in an analytical and evaluative way, the challenging topic of International Relations and the Cold War. The department has used current affairs to demonstrate that some of these historic tensions are by no means forgotten!
We have also been delighted to receive many emails from parents telling us how much their children are enjoying their home-learning. The Music department has continued exploring different genres of Music with KS3 students and, whilst remote learning isn't a substitute for our usual curriculum, so rich in practical work, it has been exciting to hear how our students have been delving into genres of music that they wouldn't ordinarily have explored.
Our linguists have been challenging themselves too, by exploring French literature and pursuing virtual cultural journeys whilst our Spanish students have been in the kitchen once again, cooking up particularly authentic Tortillas Españolas.
Colleagues in the PE department have introduced a virtual journey examining Physical Education throughout the World and have exploited cross-curricular links with our Geography department. So many of our students have approached this journey with great enthusiasm. Our KS3 Geographers have produced some fabulous brochures as part of an exercise examining tourism and physical Geography in Britain. Whilst they may not be able to visit the Lake District, they have certainly exploited tools to visit it in a virtual capacity.
The Drama department have been overwhelmed by the high quality monologues that students have sent to them indicating their great dedication to the subject and the ability to apply techniques that have been taught in class. Click here
for an example.
We plan on welcoming our Year 10 students in person next week and look forward to showcasing more examples of great work as exhibits in our Learning in Lockdown gallery.
Friday 5 June 2020
The official half-term break and lovely weather has not stemmed the flow of brilliant work submitted by students from all year groups. Our staff have been busy too at this time too and some of you may have spotted our very own Miss Baggott and her practical, yet highly stylish face masks being featured in the Daily Telegraph. Students may not be physically present in school but staff are awarding achievement points galore in recognition of students' great skill, creativity and tenacity in their endeavours.
The English department has been mediating Romeo and Juliette remotely and this has delivered the unforeseen benefit of students being able to use a variety of media to demonstrate their learning of the text in some more unusual ways. These have included the creation of physical story boards. It appears likely that Lego mini figures were harmed during the production of the work.
The Art and Photography Department has seen many examples of students being inspired by nature during lock-down. Our artists and photographers have thoughtfully applied their theoretical knowledge and skills, making the most of Spring's favourable lighting conditions to create some superb compositions.
The History Department has enjoyed reviewing some truly inspiring work relating to the Spanish Armada, from Year 7 students. Some have submitted sophisticated explanations outlining the numerous reasons that account for the Spanish defeat by Drake. Some students chose to present their work in really unusual formats and staff have also been busy reviewing the remaining Homefront Magazines, the first of which, we reported on prior to half-term.
Meanwhile, the Modern Foreign Languages Department has received an influx of food-related work - all extremely well thought-through and executed. And much of it temptingly delicious! Our students of French were not to be outdone by their Spanish counterparts and we saw many examples of exquisite French madeleines, brioches and other confections, with accompanying written work in French, naturellement! We wonder how many families had been inspired by our previous report of the Tapas Evenings that brought a taste of Spain to Fleet some weeks ago?
STEM subjects have been very active too and the Science Department has seen plenty of evidence that students are actively engaging with practical experiments within the comfort of their own homes, including detailed written work relating to the nature of forces. Technology teachers continue to enjoy receipt of some amazing designs and proto-type plans for a variety of ingenious projects.
In addition, many of our Year 7s have kindly given up their time to contribute to our Year 6 Transition Programme. Although school closure makes it more challenging for our Year 6 students to become physically acquainted with our site, current Year 7 students have endeavoured to ensure that their fears and worries are allayed by compiling a virtual booklet comprising some very sage advice. Two particularly wise offerings included:
"When I first went into Year 7, I was really nervous but one of the things that helped me was knowing exactly what I was going to be doing, at what time, and having what I needed for that, especially during my first week. I also think it was important to arrange where I was going to meet my friends in the morning, break, lunch time, after school, or whenever else I needed to. Another thing that helped me was telling my friend what I was going to be doing, or where I was going, so that, if I didn't turn up to the meeting place, they would know where I was. For example, when I had a club or a Music lesson to go to. I hope you find this useful."
"I would advise them to keep calm because, after all, it's not as challenging or as scary as they might think it will be!"
As we prepare for face-to-face, on-site contact with our Year 10 students, it really is encouraging to see such commitment and perseverance from students in all other year groups and we look forward to publishing more examples of their work in due course.
Friday 22 May 2020
It has been another hard-working week at Calthorpe Park! We have been inundated with staff sharing examples of fabulous student learning which demonstrates deep thought, high effort and great ingenuity. It has also been heartening to see many staff and students using the Covid-19 pandemic as a true learning opportunity.
Mrs Loosemore has been able to give students in Health and Social Care an opportunity to critically evaluate the notion of 'care' and its limitations in our current environment. She has shared some examples of truly thought-provoking work from her students, illustrating their deeply compassionate natures and maturity beyond their years.
Miss Baggott was also able to adapt her curriculum plans to allow GCSE Food and Nutrition students the opportunity to examine supply chain issues occurring as a result of panic buying and a depletion in agricultural labour. Her students engaged well with the underlying concepts and many were able to draw on the experience of their own families at this time to substantiate their assertions.
Meanwhile, staff continue to exploit new technologies and many of our students are engaging in these opportunities. Mrs Stuart has created her own virtual forum and her English students are enjoying participating in a Creative Writing club. She has been incredibly pleased by the quality of the virtual discussion that has taken place and students have enjoyed not only viewing each other's submissions but also setting carefully considered targets for improvement in a mutually supportive environment.
In addition, we have been enjoying the polished writing skills of our Modern Foreign Languages students whilst students in Design and Technology have created some very sophisticated designs of Gumball Machines! Year 6 transition projects continue to come in and it is a veritable delight to see the enthusiasm that our prospective students are brimming with.
Ms Ball has been promoting mental health and well-being in the form of a virtual club. Some of her students have shared beautiful examples of wildlife and nature photography. They have been using this to connect with the outdoors as a mechanism to enhance their own well-being. She has also been able to share some lovely examples of extra-curricular art work that students have been engaging with to promote mindfulness. These students are commended for positively taking responsibility for their mental health at a challenging time.
It is a pleasure for staff to share and celebrate examples of their students' work, endeavour and participation in learning and we look forward to publishing more examples after the half-term break.
We finish this week with an update from our hard-working site team. Since Easter the new “studio” (what used to be the motor mechanics shed) has had a new ceiling installed and new floor laid, creating additional teaching space for drama and dance, as well as a useful space for those wishing to hire somewhere suitable for yoga and aerobics.
The team then moved onto the corridor leading from the staff car park where the old coat hangers were. This area has been refurbished completely including the stairwell leading to the IT department.
They have now finished the food tech corridor, music entrance and more recently work started on the second IT stairwell.
In addition, the site team have been working alongside the landscape team and the memorial garden is looking stunning!
Friday 15 May 2020
Whilst current circumstances have been challenging for everyone in the Calthorpe Community, our staff have been enjoying sharing positive examples of outstanding and often ingenious work that our students are undertaking at home.
Some of our students have involved their whole family in collective learning. One student led a tapas evening and shared a wonderful menu and some photos with Mr Robins – he was, of course, most disappointed that he didn’t get to participate as the food looked absolutely delicious! Mr Robins has also been busy creating more online videos and has now enjoyed in excess of 6000 views. Mr Margilewski, too, has been busy publishing more videos to aid our Business students and his You Tube channel is proving extremely popular.
The History Department has received the most engaging and beautifully presented Tudor Lifestyle magazines which have showcased students' creativity and technical skills. One could imagine thumbing through them in the grounds of Hampton Court Palace!
Our Maths Department has been delighted by fantastic levels of student participation, particularly in Year 10, while the English Department have been very actively engaging with their students via email. They have received a great selection of positive comments and thanks for their individually-focused support, guidance and feedback.
Some of our students have chosen to interpret the rainbow challenge by creating culinary masterpieces:
Drama staff were very excited to share highly creative set design work whilst they are also working with students interested in producing a 'virtual play'. Two students, sisters, have worked with their cousins in Belgium to produce a mini version of the musical 'Chicago', and they have entertained staff with the video they produced.
Many parents have also highlighted and commended the broader set of life and learning skills that our students are developing at this time of working from home. To quote one:
“Our daughter is learning some valuable skills of time management, organisation of workload, checking the job is done and completed to the best of her ability - these will be skills she needs for later in life!”
Our celebration of super work is not limited to current students. We are delighted that so many Year 6 students are engaging with our ‘Transition Challenges’ and have been sending us digital copies of their fabulous creations.
And finally, we are immensely proud of all our students and staff who have been busily contributing to broader efforts. We are particularly delighted to commend those who have dedicated time to sewing sets of scrubs for local healthcare workers, and also Miss Baggott who has been crafting rather stylish face masks.