By Gabriella Payne
The statewide return to remote learning, brought about by this current lockdown, has been hard for students, staff and parents to adjust to – but a few parents at Beaconsfield Upper Primary School have been blown away by the support the school has shown both them and their children this time around.
Local resident and mum of two, Kate Parsons, wanted to make a special thank you to the teaching staff at Beaconsfield Upper Primary School for all the hard work and commitment they have shown in ensuring their students continue to engage in learning, despite yet another lockdown.
“I have a child care aged son and a son in prep, and it’s just been really wonderful with the support that the school has given us,” Ms Parsons said.
“Just the transition from sending our preppie to physical school, and then having to say ‘ok, we’re going to be doing homeschool now’…it’s definitely been challenging and stressful, but the school has given us really good tools and everything has just been really well communicated to the parents,” she explained.
“The school has done a wonderful job and so have the teaching staff, so kudos to them.”
Ms Parsons said that many other parents at the school felt the same and she wanted to make a special shout out to her son’s prep teacher, Carla Bate, who had gone above and beyond to ensure her class stayed on track in their first year of learning.
“We’ve been really fortunate to have a wonderful prep teacher, Ms Bate, who’s an absolute superstar,” Ms Parsons said.
“She is such a wonderful, prepared communicator and gives us [parents] information early so that we’ve got time to digest it and then share it with the kids. She’s done an ace job,” she said.
The principal of Beaconsfield Upper Primary School, Vicki Miles, said that although it had been disappointing to head back into remote learning once again, she was incredibly proud of her team of teaching staff who had sprung into action immediately.
“I’m blessed up here, we have an amazing teaching team,” Ms Miles said.
“This time around we were a lot more prepared, so we just swung into action, whereas initially it was like, what do we need to do? How are we going to go about it?
But like I said, I can’t speak more highly of the team that I’ve got here, they go beyond and above every time,” she said.
Ms Miles explained that after listening to parental feedback from previous lockdowns, the school had been able to refine their remote learning program and ensure that every student’s needs were being met, and they were keeping a big focus on mental wellbeing throughout these trying times.
“Behind the scenes there’s a lot of work to get remote learning going,” Ms Miles explained.
“We’re very connected to the community so we did a lot of listening and we’ve tried to adjust according to feedback, so it’s nice to get to this point and know that we’ve got it right.”
Ms Parsons said that while the school’s remote learning program had been exceptional – the real challenge for online learning had been Upper Beaconsfield’s poor internet connection.
“The challenge at home is the NBN, which was meant to be the silver bullet to connect those that are remote, and that has not happened for us,” Ms Parsons explained.
“Because we’re not in the growth corridor, we’re up in no man’s land [in Upper Beaconsfield] and the infrastructure is sub-par.”
Ms Parsons said that it would be nice to see internet connectivity improve in the area, particularly as this may not be the last time remote learning is required.
“There are still improvements that can be made and should be made,” she said.