BENDIGO principals say they will use lessons from remote learning in the 2021 school year.
Students from prep through to year 12 learnt from home at different stages in 2020 due to the COVID-19 lockdowns.
Schools first moved to remote learning in term two. Students returned briefly to the classroom before moving back home in August. They finished the final term back at school.
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Bendigo Senior Secondary College principal Dale Pearce said it had been a "hugely challenging" year for students, staff, and families.
"The most heartening aspect has been the willingness of people to be flexible and go above and beyond to provide support for young people," Mr Pearce said.
"Not just people in schools, but families and the community more broadly have been strongly supportive, which has been much appreciated."
Girton Grammar head Dr Clayton Massey said students and staff have been incredibly resilient this year.
"I admire their dedication to keep going in what was a situation in which we have never experienced in the past," he said. "Hats off to everyone."
Dr Massey said Girton moved most of its co-curricular program online as coronavirus restrictions came into force.
He said the school would look to continue that program and other measures in 2021.
Looking back at remote learning:
"We completely revised our wellbeing program this year so we could provide more ways for students to access support," Dr Massey said.
"We have employed additional support staff and they were really well received. There is an increased awareness of people's mental health and asking for help. So that program is a keeper."
Marist College Bendigo principal Darren McGregor said his school would also adapt remote learning practices for next year.
"We've got to be really careful that we don't remove the personal touch," he said. "You can't do everything online, but I think we can find a balance.
"We probably pride ourselves with the fact that as a new school, we were pretty focused on student agency and student learning. So in a way, there weren't many new technologies that we brought in.
"What we did though was we took them home and we probably went a step further in developing the resources. Those resources now sit there and so hopefully we will use those."
Mr Pearce said remote learning had increased the teachers' skill sets.
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"I know we have a sizeable number of teachers who will take on more formal training in the new year about virtual learning and how to apply that to everyday classes," he said.
"We have teachers across the state who will have learnt how to use technology that will compliment what they do in face-to-face classes.
"We have a great many teachers who have really broadened their skill set this year and students will benefit."
While 2020 was disrupted, Mr Pearce said there were supports in place to help students who felt like they had fallen behind.
"By and large, students returning to school next year will feel that they are ready to do so," he said. "But we know there are students across the state whose learning has slipped.
"One of the very good things that the state government has done is provide support through a specific tutoring program.
"Students in schools who have slipped because of remote learning will be supported. That is reassuring for students and families."
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