Rhubarb 2020

ST EDWARD’S r h u b a r b


let us know if they thought things could be improved. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive from pupils and parents which was really pleasing. One of the things I really enjoyed seeing grow was the communal staff help and advice page that developed, where technical (and sometimes less technical) top tips were shared on how to improve their teaching. Did anything surprise you? I guess the big surprise was that I could actually do my job from the relative comfort of my home. I missed not seeing the pupils and staff each day and being able to pop into the Dining Room and take the temperature of the School. Seeing colleagues and pupils on Zoom wasn’t quite the same. What were a couple of your highlights during this period? At the start of each week I would send out an email to the community highlighting everything that the pupils (and staff) could get involved in, ranging from activities and competitions, such as a recipe of the week, to live sports sessions, and community projects that pupils could participate in. My personal favourites over the period were watching the Friday at Five concerts, where pupils submitted a video of a piece of music they had played. I was less keen, though, on being outshone by Adam Moffatt, the Head of Rowing, on the football skills challenge. What are you looking forward to most when the pupils and teachers will be back on site at Teddies? One thing that the lockdown demonstrated was how much everyone values the communal events here at Teddies, and in many ways it is what makes boarding school life so enjoyable. Playing in the orchestra or in a sports fixture, going to Chapel or into Oxford with friends, completing an expedition are all things that we took for granted before the pandemic, as well as, of course, being in a classroom with others. Whilst we won’t get back to completely normal service in September, and things will no doubt feel a little different, I am looking forward to helping to get all these things up and running again in the Autumn Term at some point.



VIRTUAL TEDDIES School life during lockdown As we look back at the last Summer Term, when school life and learning moved online, we talk to Sub-Warden Tony Darby about what it was like at Teddies during lockdown, how the School adapted and what we learnt from this unprecedented time in our history.

This must have been a challenging time for teachers and pupils alike. How did everyone cope? Making sure that things moved seamlessly over to an online learning environment in such a short space of time was a huge challenge for all the staff involved and I have to admit that I was extremely nervous when the Summer Term began, not sure how things might pan out. There was the occasional teething problem, particularly as everyone was coping with a whole new way of learning via their computers, but I have always thought that one of the reasons I love working at Teddies is the sense of community, and it was fantastic to see all the staff pulling together and changing how they worked, and the pupils completely engaging with what we put on for them. What was the feedback from the pupils? We kept trying to tweak things on the back of the surveys that we conducted, as well as encouraging everyone to

We heard a lot about Virtual Teddies during the lockdown period but what did it really mean? When we took the decision to close the site and move to an online offering in March, it felt like such a momentous decision and something that I couldn’t have envisaged just a few weeks previously, before anyone had heard of Covid-19. There had obviously been lots of conversations about contingencies and what we would need to do. We were a little fortunate in that the timing of the physical closure meant that we had the Easter holiday to take stock of how we might implement a whole new way of learning. The academic offering clearly had to be the priority, ensuring that the pupils learning wasn’t adversely affected, but there was also a sense that it was important we kept as much going in terms of support for the pupils, alongside activities, so that no one felt lost and isolated from the School. Trying to do all of this through a laptop felt pretty daunting!


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