Coronavirus: Sixth-form students create home-learning programme

HomePal lessons

Sixth-formers from three Manchester schools have joined forces to launch HomePal, a new home-learning programme aimed at helping younger pupils enhance and enrich their education during the current school closures.

HomePal is accessed through Instagram and has been developed by a group of nine volunteers from Withington Girls’ School, The Manchester Grammar School (MGS) and Manchester High School for Girls, with followers able to access short study sessions in Chinese, geography, German, English, history, maths, mindfulness, science, and Spanish.

Content is primarily targeted at school children in Years 7 to 9, but HomePal’s contributors say their lessons are attracting users of all ages keen to learn a new skill or subject during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Shamae Griffin, who writes HomePal’s Spanish lessons and is one of four contributors from Withington, said: “It’s a great way to expand horizons, particularly for younger children missing their usual school environment.

“It’s not meant to replace school remote learning but extends their studies and is also an opportunity to try subjects they may not be taking currently, such as Chinese or mindfulness.

“We’re finding that siblings or parents are pointing them in the direction of HomePal, and then deciding to have a go at some of the subjects themselves too.”

HomePal was established just as schools across the country closed due to Covid-19, when sixth-formers from Withington, Manchester High and MGS decided to work together on a joint educational project.

Subjects were chosen according to the HomePal team members’ personal preferences and are composed based on Key Stage 3 curriculum guidance and the students’ own knowledge.

Though most of the topics on offer have an academic element, they are intended to be fun and interaction is actively encouraged – mindfulness was included to help support mental health and wellbeing during the lockdown period.

Shamae, who hopes to study politics and international relations at university, added: “Withington has given me so many opportunities and now that I’ve come to the end of my WGS journey, it’s great to use the skills gained over the past seven years to help others.”

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