It was almost exactly a year ago when I set up the Registry office at home and thought myself very fortune that we had already completed the main entrance testing for September 2020 entry. I had of course no idea at all what would unfold over the year, and how that would change the admissions process at King’s.
I was firstly very surprised that enquiries for entry carried on. While still in lockdown number one, we had many families enquire for the first time and we started rolling out online testing. Then for the second part of the Summer Term, our new Lower Sixth students who had been due to start in September, joined their peers virtually for the start of their A Level studies. One or two were still overseas at the time.
A huge relief was felt when the Summer seemed to herald ‘getting back to normal’ and all our other year groups of new starters, including all those who joined us for Year 7 were able to start school in person. But then the changes started to happen.
With all children in school, but with restrictions, and in bubbles, our Autumn Open Morning held in September was held without pupils and spread over two full Saturdays to manage the flow of visitors over the site. Our Senior School staff volunteered to be guides, a change from the hosting role they were more used to on open events and we were able to take lots of visitors (both families with children in our Prep Schools and new to the school) round the school site, visiting the academic departments and facilities of the school. This was a vast change to a usual open event which tends to be a whole school event, full of people, noise and excitement.
Our marketing department filmed the school and the school community to bring the website to life and we were very grateful that they had done so as we moved through the Autumn when visits became impossible due to government regulations, and our next two open events became fully virtual.
The Spring entrance testing was all carried out remotely, building on our earlier testing we now had a fully interactive virtual exam system in place with Zoom invigilation and interviews taking place via video. We were able to include those overseas and tests were carried out in six countries simultaneously.
A year on, I can confirm that the school community will be joined by another set of talented and enthusiastic new joiners in September. We are very grateful for everyone in the admissions process working together, be it new families, members of the wider King’s Community and all staff. A particular mention must go to the children and families of those who have joined us during this academic year, especially those who joined in January 2021 straight into a lockdown and remote learning.
We have learned a huge amount during this year, some things we will keep, however what we are looking forward to most is being able to welcome visitors back in to the school as restrictions ease over the coming months. To feel the atmosphere of the school and to be able to see the King’s community in action is, and always has been, our best advertisement.
Vickie Peckston – Registrar