Creativity thrives in restricted times - Sydenham High School

Creativity thrives in restricted times


Over the past few months education has been forced to adapt quickly to the unprecedented and challenging times we have found ourselves in.

A digital transformation in  education has taken place which will undoubtedly have a profound and lasting impact on education for years to come. What has struck us, however, throughout our period of Guided Home Learning are two things – the adaptability and resilience of our pupils, as well the thread of creativity which shone through all of their endeavours.

Staff and pupils have utilised new software such as Google’s Kami extension to annotate pdf past papers, Flipgrid to upload music pieces, and social media channels for mini sports challenge videos as well as daily Google Meets to maintain a sense of community. Creativity has filtered into all subjects, encouraging innovation through the use of items found at home; from making model flowers for plant reproduction in  biology to Dia de los Muertos masks in Spanish to packing for a  pilgrimage in RS to a year 7 maths class learning fractions through  scaling a recipe. Staff as well as pupils have been encouraged to enter their creations into our Piece of the Week gallery and PSHE Bingo was a treasure trove of independent  learning from film making to  embroidery to random acts of  kindness.

As a community we came together virtually for our SE26 Charity Challenge, raising £5475 for NHS Charities Together, by participating in sponsored activities on the theme of 26. Staff and pupils also made visors and scrubs. This period has not only revolutionised teaching and learning but it has given renewed vigour to the education of the whole child and the importance of skills beyond those learnt in the classroom.

Our motto of Fear Nothing could not have been more apt during these past few months and the ‘can do’ approach which we instil in our pupils really shone through. Having a growth mindset during lockdown has proved to be invaluable and has unlocked further potential and talents in so many of our pupils. It is not just with our pupils, though that we have seen this but also with our teachers who have been modelling just what can be achieved if you put your mind to it, take that risk, step out of your comfort zone and believe in what you are doing.

To this end, our online delivery of lessons became exciting, creative, fearless and above all inspiring which in turn allowed our pupils the opportunity to really dig deep and recognise that there are no barriers to their learning, despite being  physically away from school. We have had to do things differently but this new ‘different’ has afforded greater creativity and we have seen some truly remarkable teaching and learning as well as pupil outcomes.

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