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Children on school tour via Minecraft

Burnt Mill Academy / Tue 6th Oct 2020 pm31 03:20pm

CHILDREN are being invited to take a tour of their prospective future secondary school – in the world of Minecraft.

Students at Epping St John’s Church of England School, in Epping, are developing a replica of their school on favourite computer game, Minecraft.

Parents have to apply for secondary school places in Year 7 for September 2021 by November 1 this year.

With Covid-19 restrictions meaning schools are unable to hold their traditional open events, parents and children are being forced to make the selection from home.

To help with the decision-making process, Epping St John’s is utilising its new virtual world.

Instead of open events and taster days, the school – 

  • is offering the opportunity for Year 6 pupils to tour around the school on Minecraft, enabling them to walk the corridors and get used to the layout via the online world.
  • held a virtual open evening Q&A session for parents. Parents would usually hear a speech given by the headteacher during open evening visits. This year, they logged on to hear key members of staff and student leaders talk about life at the school, with parents given the opportunity to ask questions. More than 350 families logged on to show interest in the 180 Year 7 places available.
  • is holding virtual taster lessons each week to Year 6 pupils in local feeder primary schools. The hour-long lessons, held until October half-term, give pupils a taste of English, French, science, history and maths lessons they would expect to experience at secondary school. Primary classes log on together to follow the lessons by Epping St John’s teachers.
  • is hosting a student takeover virtual Q&A event. Hosted by Epping St John’s students, Year 6 pupils will be able to find out about life at secondary school from their future peers. The event will give children an opportunity to ask about the issues that matter to them. To register your child for the event, visit eppingstjohnsschool.org

Sarah Viccars, senior assistant headteacher, said: “Year 6 have to make their final choice by November 1, but they are not going to get a chance to step inside a school building.

“We wanted to give them a flavour of what Epping St John’s life is like without having to visit us in person.

“We are desperately trying to do what we can. It’s such a big decision to make blind, so we have to do something to help them to make the right decision for them.

“Our team is really working together, giving up free time and doing what we can to see the bigger picture of selling our school.”

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