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Independent Schools Like Repton Navigate Pandemic policies

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Repton School, amongst other educational facilities, is preparing to welcome pupils back to school as soon as it is safe to do so.

As the government gradually eases lockdown restrictions in the UK, questions are rising over when children can return to school. Independent Schools are organising clear policies to best deal with the pandemic in preparation for opening as safely when September comes.

During May, the Boarding Schools’ Association (BSA) and Britannia Study collaborated in hosting a Facebook Live webinar to discuss expectations across the educational landscape and answer questions from parents. Over four-hundred families tuned in to the virtual talk, which has now received over seven-thousand views.

Parent Concerns Raised during the Webinar

During the webinar, many parents expressed concerns about whether their children will be able to wear masks when they return to school. The general UK policy supports the wearing of masks, and the government encourages us to wear them in confined spaces. The wearing of facemasks will form part of the policies that schools are currently formulating.

Parents also questioned quarantine measures for pupils who will be returning from international countries. Anyone who enters the UK must currently undergo a two-week quarantine period, including international pupils. Some schools may encourage pupils to return to the UK a fortnight before the start of the term to live in a quarantined area of the school, government permitting. Alternatively, international pupils may be able to remain with parents/guardians or in a government facility for two weeks before they return to school.

Potential discrimination is another concern for parents, who sought clarification on how schools will tackle the possibility of bullying that targets pupils from Asia, given that the pandemic originated in China. The BSA reassured parents that schools will vigilantly police such matters, both on-campus and online. However, this kind of discrimination is now less likely given the global nature of the pandemic.

It is important to remember that the UK remains one of the safest places in the world, despite the virus. The danger for young people is particularly low, and pupils have not lost access to the UK’s excellent education system. Plus, as teachers have been trained to transfer all learning materials and approaches online, pupils are now enjoying advanced technology, which has facilitated new, engaging educational methods.

Repton School’s Approach during Lockdown

Amongst Britain’s independent schools, Repton School has been in regular contact with UK and international parents during lockdown, gathering opinions and insights from all concerned. The school was also one of the first to offer reduced fees, carefully re-calculating the fee structure in context of remote learning. As part of Repton’s mission to continue operations as smoothly as possible, parents and guardians are invited to attend virtual parents’ evenings and will receive their children’s school reports as normal.

Repton School has also taken numerous steps so that pupils do not miss out on educational benefits during their summer term. The school has used Microsoft Teams effectively as a collaborative framework, with pupils and staff receiving training prior to lockdown. The output has been incredibly successful with staff and pupils embracing the new way of working.

Staff have also reviewed and adapted each pupil’s timetable so that lessons can be delivered virtually, and teachers are now marking all work online. Teachers have worked hard to reform learning materials, producing narrated PowerPoints, arranging instant-message discussion groups, and organising class video meetings.

On top of academic lessons, Repton has transferred pastoral support systems online so that pupils continue to receive emotional and psychological support during this difficult time. The school’s Staying in Touch programme includes pastoral care, learning support, mental-health resources, and virtual social events to keep pupil morale high.

Find out more about Repton School’s academic and pastoral processes under lockdown at www.repton.org.uk.

Repton School’s Admissions Process during Lockdown

Repton staff and pupils look forward to returning to campus – the Michaelmas Term is set to commence in September. Repton also looks forward to welcoming its new intake and has adapted its admissions process to ensure prospective families feel as informed as possible when considering a Repton education..

Parents and prospective pupils can now attend virtual tours of the Repton campus and meet staff members. If a prospective pupil is interested in a particular subject area, Repton will arrange for relevant subject teachers to attend a virtual tour. Tours can be arranged by emailing Mrs Jane Bird at registrar@repton.org.uk.

Applicants will be required to take an assessment as part of the entry process. This year, prospective pupils can take the entry assessment online under the supervision of parents or guardians. Repton will then interview prospective pupils via video-call platforms and request candidates to provide their current school report, as well as an academic reference.

Find out more about Repton School’s 2020 admissions process at www.repton.org.uk/admissions/admissions-during-covid-19.

You can also order Repton School’s prospectus to read more about the studies and extra-curricular activities on offer.

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