Students at St Mary’s College Ipswich have embraced the shift to online learning, clearing study spaces at home and finding new ways to connect with their teachers and peers. This transition has been facilitated through students access to technology, with all St Mary’s College Ipswich students receiving a laptop included as part of their annual school fees.
College Principal Judith Finan said the school has long recognised the role of technology in students’ education. “We have provided students with laptops for many years, as we see access to technology and being comfortable using it, as important for learning and teaching. Now, more than ever, this is proving to be true,” Mrs Finan said. “Throughout the past few weeks of Term 1, we have held assemblies, pastoral class meetings, and staff and student meetings online to ensure we can still connect in these important ways while observing social distancing.”
“We have worked to identify students who may need extra support with their internet connection and access to online materials, so that we are fully prepared to support students with online learning.”
Mrs Finan said the provision of laptops also ensures families stay engaged with the College and their daughter’s progress. The College has a strong Pastoral Care program focussed on providing tailored support for each student in whatever capacity they need. “Meeting the pastoral and wellbeing needs of students and connecting with families is essential at this time. Building positive communication networks will be a priority moving forward,” she said.
Erin Grbin’s daughter is a student at St Mary’s College Ipswich. Erin said she is grateful to the staff at the College for supporting their family at this time. “I commend the fast response in setting up students with working from home. My daughter has cleared a workspace at home and gets up each morning eager to start work.”
Deputy Principal Marcus Richardson said staff too have enjoyed meeting the challenges of interacting in different ways. “While face to face learning is always preferred, our committed staff have found the planning, scaffolding and encounter with established and new technologies professionally invigorating,” Mr Richardson said. “Families who had elected to keep their children at home earlier remarked on the positive interaction students experienced, engaging with their class and teacher at school. St Mary’s College feels very well placed to support student learning given the complexity of a socially distant classroom.”
Staff and students of St Mary’s College Ipswich are excited to embrace the challenges of the next five weeks and feel confident they are equipped to meet them.
Read more about our Pastoral Care team here.