As you know, we are in the midst of an unprecedented global situation. Everyone is facing challenges of some sort or another and we at Lancing are no different. However, that is not to say that we should stop doing what we normally try to do, and that is provide our pupils with as many opportunities as we can. We have been working hard to continue the academic curriculum with distance learning and are keen to do the same in the co-curricular as well.
It has certainly provided some challenges to our usual working rhythm but I’m very pleased to say that we are all keen to ensure we offer as much as we can in some new and exciting ways.
We have, over the last few years, offered around 150 activity sessions each week to provide as wide a range of opportunities for the pupils as possible. Social distancing, bubbles and available space have impacted the programme but I am pleased to report that we will still be offering the majority of what we were able to put on normally. The reduction has been necessitated by the closure of some facilities including the gym, fives courts and squash courts. We will of course open them back up again as soon as we can.
Unfortunately Outreach, because of the nature of the off-site activity and close proximity to children and vulnerable people, will not be running for the moment. The Farm will equally be closing its gates for September while the Farm manager gets back and running with, rightly, his new Risk Assessments and management of the area and equipment.
We took the decision last term to cancel all inter-school fixtures until half-term. Fixtures in the second half of term will be subject to review nearer the time. Karen Andrew, our Director of Sport, has ensured a thorough and engaging programme of sport continues with a mix of winter sports (football and hockey) alongside the postponed summer sports (cricket, tennis, athletics and rounders).
Jan Tupper, our Equestrian Centre manager, is open for business and is ready to accept bookings for lessons as usual. Pupils with lessons must bring their own hats and boots and she is more than happy to liaise with any pupils or parents about the lessons.
Our swimming pool will be up and running for the start of term ready for the pupils and club swimmers. They will operate a ‘beach ready’ approach to begin with (swimmers arrive already changed with tracksuit over the top to negate the need for the changing rooms) and lane swimming only.
Drama and Dance
Due to social distancing and the mix of year groups inherent in the currently scheduled performances this term, they have all been indefinitely postponed in the hope that guidance changes and they can be rightly performed in front of a live audience at a later date. However, Nicholas Beeby (our Director of Drama and Dance) has a whole new programme up his sleeve to ensure Drama stays firmly in the warp and weft of what we do. This is very much a watch this space moment.
LAMDA lessons will also continue as before either remotely or face-to-face.
Dance will continue as ever under the gleeful eyes of Maria Doick and Rachel Brown. Steps have been taken to ensure suitable social distancing, positioning within the room and cleaning to ensure all Dance sessions and lessons continue to thrive.
Our Director of Music, Alex Mason, coming straight from the successes of the online concerts and performances has put together an exciting programme for our instrumentalists and singers. By utilising the array of Music rooms available, allocating practice rooms to year group bubbles and ensuring appropriate social distancing is in place for every group, we are set to be impressed once again by what he has on offer.
Music lessons will continue to be delivered remotely by the Visiting Music Teachers with the pupils attending the practice rooms in the Music School for them. This ensures continuity of rhythm and lessons. The Visiting Music Teacher will teach remotely until half-term at which point the situation will be reviewed. Music lessons, therefore, will continue and pupils should arrive at the Music School for them as usual.
CCF (Combined Cadet Force) and DofE (Duke of Edinburgh) have traditionally been the two choices for our Wednesday Service afternoon. I am very pleased to announce that we will be setting up a third option now from this September: Explorer Scouts. This group will continue to focus, like CCF and DofE, on life skills, leadership, teamwork and volunteering but without the compulsory expedition or exercise that goes with them.
We’ve ensured that there is now more than ever for the pupils to do on a Sunday should they wish: library for quiet work, music school for individual practice, outdoor basketball courts, tennis courts, astro, outdoor gym, swimming pool and Sports Hall. These areas are now bookable by their Housemaster/Housemistress so lots for them to enjoy!
Trips + visits
One of the few obvious casualties has been our ability to take pupils off-site. Following Government guidance, as we are, which states that 'The Department for Education is currently advising against domestic trips (residential and non-residential) for children under 18 organised by educational settings', it means that we have had to cancel all off-site trips for the time being. All events next half-term will be reviewed nearer the time. All overseas trips that we have provisionally scheduled will be postponed until such time as government guidance changes and there is confidence that such trips can run safely for both pupils and staff.
Given the constraints of COVID-19, we are not able to run as full a programme as we would otherwise (with particular constraints on trips and drama), but this programme gives you a flavour of what is normally on offer to the pupils.