Through our pioneering and holistic Guided Home Learning initiative, launched in March 2020, GDST girls have found that their educational experience has remained engaging, exciting, varied and uplifting – in spite of the limitations and challenges imposed by the pandemic.
At a time of significant unpredictability, outstanding teaching and learning have continued at the GDST as standard. Live lessons delivered by expert teachers, taught in line with students’ existing timetables, provide continuity, consistency, structure and routine.
Year 1 and Year 2 pupils eco-code together as part of the Junior Techathon; live science experiments run courtesy of the Royal Institution, for girls in Years 3-6; and live Shakespeare workshops from the Globe Theatre run for junior and prep girls of all ages.
At senior and sixth form level, students undertake the interactive and self-paced GDST Leadership or Limitless Learning initiatives, carrying out research, sharing ideas and debating in real time with peers from different schools.
Guided Home Learning is so much more than academic courses: we are proud of the wide-ranging and exciting extracurricular activities the GDST as a family of schools can offer. Outside academic lessons, GDST students continue to access a rich extracurricular offer: sport, music, art, drama, careers guidance continue, in innovative and creative ways.
Sport is delivered through a range of fun and creative activities, including the GDST Lockdown Dance Challenge, with students across the 25 schools choreographing, recording and sharing a one-minute dance. An alternative for those not in the mood for exercise might be a lunchtime Book Club Live session which allows book lovers to come together for light-hearted discussion.
As educators, we are aware, more than ever, that we need to stimulate and motivate our students, putting their needs first, maintaining momentum and morale, and ensuring they are as prepared as they can be for life after Covid.
We have adapted our GDST CareerStart Programme for Guided Home Learning, to encourage sixth formers across the GDST to learn together on topics such as university preparation and transferable skills. To see an example of this in practice, look no further than GDST Enterprise which sees student teams, mentored by alumnae, competing with each other to set up a social enterprise.
Our students’ wellbeing and happiness lie at the heart of everything we do, which is why expert, bespoke pastoral care underpins all elements of Guided Home Learning. Students continue to have daily access to form tutors, heads of year, school nurses and school counsellors, as well as a raft of resources and support through robust PSHE provision.
All GDST pupils have access to the Positive Programme, which sets out to equip them with age-appropriate tools, such as the ‘Emotional Barometer’, to monitor their emotional wellbeing, identify warning signs and address them early. The GDST Gets Active challenge saw the GDST family of schools compete to see who was the most active during the month of February. It encouraged everyone to get outside and clock up the km for their school.
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