Supporting your education and general well-being through this pandemic
- Up to date information about the disease
- Links to appropriate, reliable pages
- How GCSEs are affected
- How to utilise online resources to maximise your learning
- What to prioritise in the midst of a global pandemic
- Checking up on your mental health
It is sometimes difficult to differentiate between reliable information and fake news about the Coronavirus. Social media can provide lots of information, such as people's personal stories and advice; however, lots of false information can be spread- such as the worrying misinformation spread via WhatsApp. Even celebrities are spreading false information so it is hard to know what is valid.
The Government's daily Coronavirus briefings are live on YouTube and the BBC.
Key facts and misconceptions are outlined here- helping to stop
the spread of false or outdated information
Live Coronavirus Updates (number of reported cases and news updates)
- Keep yourself up-to-date with relevant information to help yourself and those around you
- Make sure your information sources are reliable
- Different types of information sources e.g. podcasts, live updates, etc.
Education during a Pandemic
After announcing a third national lockdown, the Government cancelled GCSEs ... again ...
Don't worry, you will still receive a grade for every exam you were entered in for and Ofqual's system aims to minimise bias by highlighting students' potential and aptitude for the subjects. Details about what is happening and how it different from last year to come. Look out for news from Ofqual or the Government. Boris Johnson has announced a return to school for all students in England on 8th March- details about examinations and teacher assessments are to follow.
Year 11s, you now have a very long summer and, because we are self-isolating and social distancing, you will inevitably get bored so we need to start thinking about your future after you receive your GCSE grades- there's only so much Netflix you can watch. If you want to do A Levels, you should find the subjects you are interested in. The best thing to do is to then find resources such as (audio)books and videos associated with their favourite topics to bring some variety into your quarantine and to stop you losing your motivation to work. The best students will start looking at the A Level course for the subjects they want to do. You should start researching apprenticeships, colleges and sixth forms and how their admissions process has changed in light of the pandemic.
Year 10 (and other years), subject to the nationwide school closures, you have been either working from home or still attending school if your parents are key workers or you are unable to work at home. This provides some challenges in terms of adapting to a new style of learning. Getting used to working online is so important because certain individuals or groups may have to self-isolate and learn from home if there are cases within your school or local area. There is information and advice below.
Every school is approaching online learning differently. Common approaches are Microsoft Teams, making YouTube videos for their students, Google Classroom, and using email to contact students and set assignments. If you believe your school is not efficiently using this technology, or you don't have your own device to access the information, make sure you or a parent/carer contacts school to let them know of your situation.
Whenever you are at home self-isolating, you have the responsibility to learn GCSE content that you will be tested on next Summer so it is imperative that you take the time to complete assignments and not fall behind with work. Frankly, there is not enough time for teachers to reteach all of the information and techniques you are meant to have learnt. Of course, there may be some concepts you don't fully understand or want extra information on, so definitely reach out to your teachers using the appropriate method for your school. If it is going to be helpful, you can ask siblings, parents, or anyone else you are self-isolating with for help if they are available. Alternatively, there are many resources such as websites, revision guides and YouTube channels specifically covering each subject. This information is available in our courses incoming Year 11s.
Where you work also affects your productivity and concentration. Advice on working from home tells us that working where you sleep or relax isn't good- so fight the urge to work from your bed or you could suffer from insomnia. Try to find an place that is pretty quiet, comfortable - this could range from a desk in your room to the kitchen table. Advice from Psychology professor Kristen Shockley: you should “create boundaries within your home that your family members understand: ‘When the door is closed, pretend I’m not there’”. Also, have something to look forward to when you are finished working for the day: a movie/TV shows, going for a run, gaming, or using Zoom/Facetime/etc. to chat to friends .
If you are struggling to concentrate as well as you could at school, it may be due to the lack of routine. Try treating it like real school and do your normal routine, e.g. have a shower, get changed out of your pyjamas, have breakfast, etc. At school, there is lots of social interaction, but working from home gets rid of that, so this could mean less distractions, or perhaps you feel more bored and uninspired. Make sure you check up on your friends using social media or text- ensuring you check both how they are getting on with work (encourage them to do their work if they are not- having friends interested in the work really helps to motivate you), and how their mental health is.
It is easy to panic about the Coronavirus because we are experiencing a once-in-a-century pandemic. This doesn't mean that your well-being has to depreciate.
You need to prioritise your mental health and physical health- especially now.
Quarantine definitely gets tricky if you are always worried about what is going on in the world, and even harder if you or your loved ones are affected by COVID-19. For a lot of us, the pandemic has led to hardship. If you are struggling, visit this page for crucial advice: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-the-public-on-mental-health-and-wellbeing/guidance-for-the-public-on-the-mental-health-and-wellbeing-aspects-of-coronavirus-covid-19
Here are some things that I have been doing to help my well-being:
- Watching TV and movies: Netflix, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, All4, etc.
- Communicating with friends and family on social media: video chats really everything feel a bit more normal by chatting to your friends like you would
- Exercising: make sure you exercise daily- whether that's going for a walk or run outside, or following home workout videos on YouTube
- Find or make a playlist of songs that lift your mood
- Reading: fiction, non-fiction, reading some introductory A Level books
- Learning new skills: set yourself goals for the end of quarantine
- Online quizzes: many people have created quizzes- try them alone or with friends
- Taking care of my body: relaxing, doing skincare and bodycare, etc.
- Trying to cook new meals with different or limited ingredients