Students are regaining a sense of normality by attending virtual lessons with their teachers.

Since the partial school shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, schools have been working to find new ways to communicate with and inspire their children.

Teachers at Epping St John’s Church of England School, in Epping, are now holding full lessons via Microsoft Teams online.

Flora Christofi, head of sixth form, is leading the trial with 30-minute lessons with Year 12 students.

She said: “Our students are missing direct contact with their teachers. They were previously being set work online and then emailing their teachers with any questions, but they want a bit more. So, we are now delivering lessons online and continuing to teach the curriculum.

“We miss having contact with our students as much as they are missing their lessons. They just want us to be in contact and to reassure them they are doing everything right."Sixth formers have been able to discuss the UCAS university application process with their teachers, as well as look into university open days.

It is hoped once the trial is complete, the system will be rolled out to other year groups at the school, starting with Year 10 who are heading into their exam year.

Head of school Michael Yerosimou said: “Nothing replaces having a teacher in a classroom, but this is 2020. If you consider what the next few months or year might look like, we might not have all children in school. This is something that adds another string to our bow and will help with the restrictions moving forward.

“It is never going to be the same as the feeling you get in the classroom or the look on children’s faces. But, this is the next best thing.

“We are all on our own, but there is a big community spirit developing.”

Year 12 student Amy Burges said: “Being taught online was quite daunting to begin with as no one knew what to expect or if it would work, but it has made me feel more motivated and productive. I am enjoying the virtual lessons as they are very interactive and engaging.”

Classmate James Cronin said: “I think online teaching has been a far better experience than just working independently because it allows a teacher to go through the lessons and you can stop them if you have any questions. It is a very good form of communication and it is helping a lot with going through practice questions if students do not understand them."

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