It started like a normal year. With our wonderful programs and systems in place to begin another great year at Wellesley. Our focus was on developing our Educational Philosophy and embedding our programs in wellbeing, cultural integration, the digital environment and maintaining our focus on relationships and engagement with our boys.
We got in some camps early in the year and many of our boys in years 1-6 had the opportunity to bond and develop great relationships with their peers and teachers. It was great to see these activities go ahead prior to the pandemic being thrust upon us.
New Zealand took the lead in going into lockdown to protect our people. We watched as Dr Ashley Bloomfield, a past parent, led us through uncertain times. Wellesley leapt into action and decided not to move the holidays forward, but the staff wanted to ensure that the learning continued. We developed a plan to send devices home for boys who did not have them, run online learning in the mornings and give families the time in the afternoons to maintain their wellness. We launched an IT support program from our internal resources and began using Zoom and Microsoft Teams to run normal (as normal as possible) online classes.
Our staff, boys and families are the true heroes. They adapted to the new environment with ease and all members of the school community rallied together to keep our boys learning. Our specialists were not idle either, offering online specialist lessons throughout lockdown and keeping the boys engaged. We ran a holiday program, to remain connected with our boys, ready for the transition back to normalcy as soon as practicable.
It was fortuitous that we had spent the last couple of years ensuring we had a sound digital platform, infrastructure and device management to be able to shift to online learning. Many staff had picked up skills that were easily transferrable to a lockdown situation. The continuation of learning was certainly something all staff should be proud of achieving during trying times.
It has shown in our results at the end of the year with 87% of our boys still achieving AT or ABOVE across the breadth of curriculum.