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“At home this is my relaxed space; at school this is my workspace"

“At home this is my relaxed space; at school this is my workspace

Tuesday 12 January 2021

“At home this is my relaxed space; at school this is my workspace"

Tuesday 12 January 2021


A local student – and recent face of the Government’s TikTok page – has shared a message of positivity to his classmates amid the uncertainty of the pandemic and exam cancellations.

Dante Nardoni, who is currently in Year 11 at Grainville, says that, despite recent stresses, he is still going to be putting in plenty of hard work to enable him to get good GCSE grades at the end of the school year.

The 15-year-old pupil recently took a music exam at Grainville School in a hall that had been rearranged to allow at least two metres between all desks.

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Pictured: Exams have been cancelled this year and replaced by teacher assessments.

He was preparing for more exams in the summer but they have since been cancelled and replaced by teacher assessments for the second year in a row.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced last Monday that this year’s exams “would be different” and the teacher-assessment system of grading was confirmed by Education Secretary Gavin Williamson in the House of Commons.

Because Jersey schools rely on UK-based examining boards and their regulator, they had to follow suit.

Even though the pandemic keeps bringing up daily changes, Dante is choosing to remain optimistic.

“It’s scary, it really is because there is so much uncertainty about what is coming up,” he said. “You’ve just got to make it tomorrow, like I’m going to pass this day, then I’ll pass next day and it’s just about being, ‘If I get through every day’, because new news will come in from the Government and everything else.” 

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Pictured: “Are you well prepared enough to say ‘all my expected grades are good so that will be fine, all my mocks are good so that will be fine’," Dante said.

While students sometimes perform differently in their coursework and during exams, Dante says it’s all about being in the right mind if things do change and work hard to have the best chance of scoring high at the end of the year.

“Are you well prepared enough to say ‘all my expected grades are good so that will be fine, all my mocks are good so that will be fine’," he said.

“Then as soon as it comes to the summer, you’ll be like ‘ok I worked all year, I’ve worked really hard’ and then that will help really. For some people who don’t work hard, maybe they just focus on that big day, it’s going to be a bit of setback to them but for me and other students that I am mates with, it will be good for them cause they worked hard all year, their assessments are good, so when we do average on all exams, our assessed grades will be good and we can get good GCSE grades in the end.”

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Pictured: Grainville Headteacher Sue Morris talking with the former Education Minister, Senator Tracey Vallois.

Grainville teachers have been preparing for the possibility of the assessments making a return since the school year started, thanks to the foresight of their Headteacher, Sue Morris. 

“On the first day back, on the inset in September, I said to all the staff ‘they have said that covid is going to be a challenge in the winter so therefore students will not be in school’,” she said.

“We follow the UK government and so therefore on that September inset I said ‘let’s prepare for the absolute worst, let’s think very carefully about how we’re assessing students’, we collate all our assessments centrally now and we have done since September and everyone has been very focused about the worst case scenario of having to do the assessments again. 

“So as a school we’ve been preparing since September for that scenario to happen and it has happened and we are fully prepared for it so I am really pleased.”

Over the last week, the teachers have also been preparing for online learning, in case it has to make a return. Dante is however hoping it won’t be the case as he’d rather be in school.

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Pictured: At school, you have the right motivation Dante said.

“I feel that you get more of an emotional bond with your teachers, there is a bit more feedback, because online you have to do all the messaging and everything,” he said. “Even if you are a bit stressed about something, if you are at school, the teacher can have a chat with you. 

“You also get the right motivation, I feel like at home this is my relaxed space, but when you are at school, you are like ‘this is my workspace, this is what I have got to do, I’ve got to work and then when I am home, I can finally rest’, when they overlap it can be confusing for some students and they might feel ‘ I want to work but I am at home I got my phone, I got my tv’.” 

Video: Dante recently filmed a 'back-to-school' video for the Government's Tik-Tok page.

For Dante, online learning would be better if local teachers could do “proper online learning” like their American counterparts. 

“They’ll have their teacher up on a board and everyone have their different things,” he said. “It’s different from what we do here in Jersey because in Jersey we do more Google Classroom and cameras are off. You got set the work and then you just kind of do it.

“I feel like in a Zoom it will motivate you to wake up at that certain time, see your teacher there and work with your teacher.”

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