Due to the national quarantine implemented by the Spanish government in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Runnymede College was unable to hold classes on the school premises from 12th March 2020 until the end of the academic year 2019-20.
Nevertheless, thanks to the immediate implementation of an effective contingency plan that had been carefully devised by our Senior Leadership Team, our dedicated teaching staff were able to continue providing education in an online format, to the highest of standards.
COVID-19 guidelines and arrangements for the whole school can be found in the general school protocol. In addition to this, a specific Team Runnymede Sports and Physical Education protocol has been created to ensure safety during sporting activities.
Senior School pupils benefited from full-time online teaching, with virtual classes running according to their normal school timetables. In the Junior School, children from all ages were able to enjoy virtual sessions with their class teachers in reduced groups, in addition to a wide variety of resources to aid their at-home learning.
This virtual approach to teaching and learning was delivered through a combination of platforms such as Zoom and Google Classroom. In this way, teachers were able to ensure that all pupils continued their education in a safe, engaging and stimulating online learning environment. Similarly, assessment objectives remained in place and, thanks to a rigorous process of online invigilation, students were able to complete their end-of-year internal assessments from the safety of their homes.
The only exception to this was Year 12, whose internal examinations were postponed to the following Autumn Term in order to guarantee the closest possible replication of the conditions they would experience in their official A Level examinations the following summer. These exams were therefore held in the second week of the 2020-21 academic year, under full exam conditions (in specially conditioned exam rooms, with at least two invigilators).
Due to the cancellation of the external IGCSE, GCSE and A Level examinations, students were unable to complete their studies in these courses as planned. Instead, they were awarded grades based on a comprehensive set of historical data that was meticulously compiled by their subject teachers, verified by Heads of Department, and signed off by the Headmaster.
Following the completion of their IGCSE and A Level syllabuses, pupils from Years 11 and 13 remained in full-time education until the end of the academic year. Lesson time was dedicated to preparing them for their future studies, whether that be in the Ⅵ Form or at university.
Unfortunately, even with the very best resources and maximum ingenuity, some aspects of in-person schooling can never be replicated in an online setting. Activities such as practical experiments in Science, live productions for Drama and fieldwork for subjects such as Geography were forcibly suspended during the quarantine, and the pandemic continues to have a lasting impact on these areas of study. In the wake of the pandemic, teachers are working closely with the Exams Officer and exam boards in an attempt to adapt syllabuses to allow for the ongoing restrictions.
We are proud to acknowledge that there was no disruption to our usual university application processes. Students in Year 13 were in constant contact with their form teachers and subject teachers, the Heads of VI Form and the University Coordinator, all of whom were on hand to answer any queries or concerns. On Results Day, students were given one-to-one advice to ensure the best possible outcomes for their individual applications. 93% of our graduating class was accepted by their first-choice university. Our Ⅵ Form Orientation meetings, organised for students going into Year 13 in the 2020-21 academic year, were held as virtual events. Students received guidance on what to expect in their last year at school with regards to studies, exams and university applications. They also received assistance in setting up their UCAS accounts, as well as advice on activities and resources they could utilise over the summer break in order to research possible university destinations and gain an insight into their preferred areas of study in preparation for their upcoming applications. For further information, please contact Runnymede College’s Exams Officer and University Coordinator, Ms G. Crane ().