A kind-hearted private school is offering free access to online lessons in key subjects to any youngsters across Rhondda Cynon Taf whose studies have been affected by Covid disruptions.
The two hour evening sessions covering English, Maths and Sciences will be taught by experienced subject specialist teachers at Myddelton College, a Microsoft Global Showcase Independent School, in Denbigh.
The lessons will go out for two weeks from Monday, November 30, from 5pm to 7pm for A-level and GSCE pupils and can be watched live and interactive or on catch-up.
Registration is free on the school website and Myddelton College Headmaster Andrew Allman said: “We will be offering English Language, Maths, Physics, Chemistry and Biology lessons with two lectures each evening.
“It’s our way of helping out to provide an additional source of learning purely as a back-up to the teaching which is already being provided in schools.
“We wanted to do something to make a contribution to the education sector and the current generation of young people at a time when they face significant challenges because of the pandemic.
“Classes in a bubble may be forced to isolate at home for two weeks at a time and we know of some pupils who have only had one month of school since the end of August.
“I know that in Wales they don’t face exams next summer, but education is about more than just exams – these are important skills which they will use all their lives.”
The two-hour lectures will be delivered on video communication service Zoom by Myddelton College’s heads of department, most of whom are also examiners on different exam boards across the country, and all of whom have volunteered their services free of charge.
Two lectures will be delivered simultaneously each evening and scheduled so that usually one will be for GCSE and one for A-level or if both are at A-level, one will be in English Language and the other in a maths or science subject to avoid a clash.
Myddelton College’s Head of English, Alan Biles-Liddell, said: “We deliver the lecture to a laptop and although I can’t see the students, they can see me and of course because it’s interactive I am able to respond to their questions and answers.
“It will also be in real time as it’s live and we will share screens so I know what they’re looking at.”
The school’s Head of Maths, Andrea Devereux, added: “We have made great use of online and interactive services for teaching and although I was a little apprehensive at first, it was actually worked very well.
“It is surprising how quickly students find their confidence to make use of all the features and then the lectures become a real interactive experience for all of us rather than just me addressing a screen.”
Myddelton College, a co-educational day and boarding school has 240 pupils and 70 staff and was the UK’s newest independent school when it opened in the autumn of 2016.
Earlier this year the school made use of virtual lessons to keep pupils around the world up to date with their studies through its pioneering use of an online classroom to beat the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Estyn Report issued last year praised the way the school celebrates its diversity, said that pupils’ behaviour was “exemplary” and was also impressed by the high level of support and guidance provided by the “committed staff”.
Andrew Allman added: “These are booster lessons for the essential subjects relevant to all exam boards and by making them available we are looking to help anyone who is being disadvantaged because they can’t attend school or ism looking for extra support.
“They can be accessed on laptops or even on mobile phones and all anyone has to do to access them is register their interest.
“The lectures will focus on the skills they need to answer exam-based questions and bridge any gaps in their knowledge ahead of them going into further education.”
Deputy headteacher Alicia Davies said: “There is a widening socio-economic gap in the country and we believe we have a responsibility to help students who might otherwise miss out.
“It is a big commitment by the teachers who have to prepare and deliver the lectures and underlines that quality inherent in the profession of wanting to help students be the best they can be.”