Tag: remote learning

Catholic Schools’ Remote Learning Success Embedded for the Future

Everywhere that Cairns Catholic Education’s Executive Director Bill Dixon goes lately, he receives favourable comments about how well Catholic schools adjusted to the COVID-19 crisis to deliver remote learning.

Testament, he says, to the agility of leadership and staff in schools who stepped up with dedication. Additionally, validation of the huge investment in quality systems and technology that Cairns Catholic Education has made in recent years.

“Staff responded with professionalism to keep the welfare and learning of students at the centre of their actions.”

The technology in place made the transition that bit easier,. This is despite posing a steep learning curve for many, under less than ideal conditions.

Staff, students and families made huge leaps forward in their ability to use digital platforms for learning and communication during remote learning. The learning curve has been exponential. Fortunately digital learning environments have enabled the continuity of learning, communication and engagement.

Schools that were already incorporating digital technologies into their lessons found the transition to home-based learning much easier.

“By the time the coronavirus shutdown occurred, the Science Department already had Microsoft Teams in place as the system to interact digitally with students,” tells St Augustine’s College, Parramatta Park Head of Science, Jesse Zell. She says that students adapted very quickly to the online learning environment.

“You would never in your wildest dreams imagine a school thriving amidst such a challenge.”

But that’s exactly what the secondary college and other Catholic schools around the Cairns Diocese did. This includes St Andrew’s Catholic College, Redlynch, which used their Digital Learning Environment as a digital hub for students to access all the learning tools they need,” explains the college’s IT Manager, Damon Thompson.

“The improved video conferencing and multimedia options now offered have excited our teachers. They plan to keep using their new skills with students going forward.”

Partnership with Parents

A strong relationship between the school and family has never been more important. Catholic schools recognise and value parents as the first educators of their child. We work in close partnership with them. The learning from home experience reinforced the importance of this relationship. It also ensured families felt supported by their school communities.

“The school supports all of my children and they have materials adjusted for their capabilities. They are busting to start their schoolwork every day and the quality of work shows just how dedicated the teaching and learning support staff are,” tells one parent at Holy Cross School, Trinity Park after the first week of learning from home.

Compassionate in Times of Need

COVID-19 has impacted all Far North families to some degree. Additionally, long after the country lifts restrictions, financial stress will linger, and we resume ‘the new normal’. Catholic schools are compassionate and accommodating to the needs of their existing and prospective families. They do this to ensure they do not deny a Catholic education to anyone due to financial constraints.

Tuition fee concessions of 100% are currently in place for those who are financially distressed. It will continue for all current and prospective families wanting a quality Catholic education.

“We are so grateful to Saints for how they fairly and proactively managed all aspects of the COVID-19 shutdown for our son and our family. The learning from home experience was well delivered and organised. Overall, we welcomed the removal of boarding fees during this difficult time,” tells one parent at St Augustine’s College, Parramatta Park.

In 2021, there will be no increase in tuition fees as our regional economy continues its recovery.

Setting Up for the Future

Catholic schools have a commitment to equip this next generation with the skills they’ll need as 21st century learners.

“One of the benefits of learning from home was that students had to develop digital literacy skills which will assist them immeasurably in the future,” tells Amanda Speziali, Year 6 teacher at Good Counsel Primary School, Innisfail.

Catholic schools are incorporating their learnings from this crisis to better position themselves for any future disruptions. It ensures that regular classrooms have the successes experienced during the period of online learning embedded into them so that students have enhanced educational opportunities. 

As Bill Dixon said in a special online coronavirus edition of Catholic Education’s Raise magazine, “No doubt there is still much more we can learn from our recent experiences and that has the capacity to greatly enhance how we think about schools of the future.”

When this generation graduates, the employment landscape will have evolved. Parents have a choice to find the right school for their child and can be responsive to their needs for the future. Catholic schools have proven they are up to the task.




The Impact of Remote Learning on Parents Revealed

Cluey, an online tutoring service for students in Years 2 – 12, have released results of research they conducted on parents and how they’ve been supporting their child’s learning from home. The research looked into how parents’ careers were affected. It also revealed how much time parents spent on helping their child with remote learning.

Almost 60 per cent of primary school parents agree that their work and/or career has been impacted due to remote learning. It was admitted to have had a negative impact on 29 per cent of primary school parents. Additionally, 21 per cent have experienced a positive impact.

46 per cent of parents said they are happy and excited about schools reopening. The number of parents that were anxious or nervous was 15 per cent, and 39 per cent of parents had mixed feelings. One third of parents said they were unsure if they would send their child back to school or said they will not allow it.

The national study was conducted by surveying over 600 parents of primary-aged students. It showed that well over half of the parents spent at least a couple of hours a day on their child’s learning. Of that, 30 per cent of them dedicated their whole day to supporting their child with remote learning. This didn’t mean that parents felt properly equipped to provide the support needed however. Over one in five of the parents admitted they didn’t feel equipped when it came to basic literacy and numeracy skills.

But many parents have also gained a better understanding of their child. They revealed:

  • They better understand how their child learns as a result of at-home learning (over 65%)
  • Almost one third believe their child’s learning has suffered during this period
  • Lack of peer-to-peer learning has been the biggest educational challenge for their child (47%)
  • Their child likes or even loves online learning (48%)

Dr Selina Samuels, Cluey Chief Learning Officer, said, “…it has given parents a much deeper insight into what their child is learning at school and their learning gaps. Parents now have a lot of observations to draw on to support their child’s learning moving forward.” 

You can read more about the results of the study on Cluey’s website.