Embracing new technology to enhance community connections at Walford

The COVID-19 restrictions on travel and student movements created challenges for many Adelaide boarding schools. We spoke with Rebecca Clarke, Principal from Walford Anglican School for Girls to find out how they’ve adapted and thrived during the pandemic.

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Rebecca Clarke, Principal from Walford Anglican School for Girls

How vital has communication been to your school during the Coronavirus pandemic in Adelaide?

One of the most important aspects of helping our school community through this time has been communication. It’s been vital to keep families up to date with the latest information from health authorities. Our leadership team made sure our international families knew what was happening in Adelaide during the coronavirus pandemic and how this affected their daughters in our boarding house.  At Walford Anglican School for Girls, we’ve embraced creative solutions and new ways of communicating to keep our community informed, confident and connected to the school

Tell us how your students adapted to remote learning.

Our expert information and technology team helped us swiftly adjust to remote learning programs during the coronavirus pandemic.  Walford students enjoyed the new experience, and our teachers adapted well to the new format of teaching without being in a classroom. Using technology, we were able to continue to deliver effective teaching and learning. In the boarding house, we maintained social distancing with the girls having single rooms and attending their online lessons in the spacious school café.

What about co-curricular activities?

We created an online co-curricular program so students could continue to join in with after-school activities. Our cooking and art classes were popular choices. So were our Zoom sports practice sessions where students follow fitness regimes with their coach and learn soccer and netball skills. Everyone has adapted with remarkable teamwork and enthusiasm.

How did you bring your community together while students were learning remotely?

To help keep students connected and maintain our regular routine, we continued our school assemblies remotely. We also moved parent-teacher interviews to an online format so that all families could discuss their daughter’s academic progress.

Our Director of Learning and Teaching presented a webinar about the International Baccalaureate (IB) and SACE pathways and subject choices for senior students. We made a recording of this session available to international parents so they could watch when it suited them.

Tell us how Walford promoted wellbeing for students during this time?

We wanted to support our community during the coronavirus pandemic in Adelaide, so we introduced a wellbeing webinar series for our families, the staff and past students. A psychologist and Walford old scholar, Hayley Lokan, presented a webinar about family dynamics during the lockdown. We had physiotherapist, James Pyke, present a session on how to take care of your back while working from home, including practical tips for a healthy posture. And our Walford families and old scholars enjoyed a series of recorded lunchtime performances and recitals by our students.

How are you informing prospective families about everything Walford has to offer?

We’re offering Walford tours online. Families can join us for a virtual tour of the junior, middle and senior schools, as well as the boarding house. They can also ask questions on the Q&A line.  Our online tours mean prospective international families can take a comprehensive tour and ‘meet’ our Head of Boarding, Ms Louie Skull and the teachers who will care for their daughters here at Walford Anglican School for Girls.

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