Supporting pupils through Covid

Supporting pupils through Covid

Parkside School tell us how the values and ethos of the School have come into their own in recent times

Whilst Parkside’s rich history has its roots steeped in tradition, the boys (and girls in Nursery) enjoy a hugely diverse and exciting curriculum which embraces and prepares them for the future. The values and ethos of the School have remained strong and have come into their own in recent times. The outstanding standards of education and support already delivered to Parkside families have not been compromised during these most testing of times. Indeed, never before has the true meaning of the Spirit of Parkside been better showcased and more clearly evidenced.

In the summer of 2019, Nicole Janssen (the Head Teacher since January 2019) confirmed; “It is a wonderful environment where the children’s curiosity is awakened. Their journey is one of discovery; where talents and passions are nurtured and developed and our pupils are encouraged to take responsibility for their learning.”

Indeed, when the Covid 19 pandemic was declared, Parkside tackled remote learning head on and successfully supported their families through unchartered territory. The School delivered a slick, virtual delivery system for its innovative and engaging curriculum through the use of technology and innovation: the boys enjoyed 6 x 45 minute virtual classes a day (the same as they do when physically at school). Food Tech and Forest School ran alongside the core academic subjects. Individual learning packs were printed, collated (by class) and collected weekly by parents at the ‘drive thru’ collection point in front of the Manor, which offers an opportunity for families to plan and prepare for the week ahead.

The younger pupils from Parkside Nursery also enthusiastically participated in their reading sessions, music and dance sessions, and ‘teacher time’. Progress and praise for work was established through ILDs (Individual Learning Diaries), which was filled with videos and photos of children enjoying their education, virtually.

A genuine pride for each and every pupil who attends Parkside is clear, and achievements are celebrated whether they are academic, creative, pastoral, sporting or based around the importance of etiquette, good manners and character building.

The Class of 2019, saw 41% of leavers achieving scholarship status for their senior school, with a 100% pass rate in their Common Entrance exams.  This is a direct result of a unique and innovative curriculum delivered through the inspired teaching of a passionate and dedicated staff team; underpinned by the ‘make it happen’ mantra led by the Head.

The threat of social isolation and deteriorating mental health in children during lockdown was combatted by Parkside’s approach to remote learning, and the virtual contact between teachers and peers. Regular weekly communication with families, newsletters and videos flooded the inboxes of Parkside parents; and family time during holidays is always deeply encouraged, along with suggested activities for everyone to get involved in.

Sport, alongside extracurricular tasks, such as the Parkside Photography Challenges, kept minds and bodies busy and healthy whilst the boys were at home.

Humour has always been a key theme throughout Parkside, and continued within the remote learning schedule, with the key source of this being the new YouTube channel; Parkside TV, where outtakes and sports teachers dressed as hot dogs, were shared alongside informative ‘how to’ guides on a weekly basis.

Being part of the ‘Parkside Family’ is a privilege, but not one which is taken for granted. The importance of recognising the wider community and world we live in, serves to teach valuable life lessons about appreciation and gratitude rather than entitlement. This, as a result, means that Parkside boys leave as well rounded, exceptional individuals with solid foundations and outstanding moral fibre.

Ms Janssen states “(the children) develop the courage to rise to each challenge, persevere when the going gets tough and face their fears with confidence. We catch them when they fall and guide them back on their individual journey.”

The School remained very much open for business as ‘unusual’ for the whole school community; and it was an honour to provide continuity, humour, reassurance and calm for children living in a world where panic, grief and hardship are felt daily.

With the return of most boys during the last 2 weeks of the summer term, the reconfiguration of classrooms and extra safety measures put in place, the School is very much looking forward to welcoming all of the pupils back. Parkside has been shortlisted for the Best Independent Boys’ School in the 2020 Independent School of the Year Awards, which pays testament to the School’s ethos, culture and dedication to its whole community.

Book a virtual or personal distanced tour or attend the open morning 2nd October online


Parkside School, The Manor, Stoke D’Abernon, Cobham, Surrey KT11 3PX.
01932 862749. Nursery Office: 01932 869973