Online Education Resource Centre

Markham College is currently closed in accordance with the decrees issued by the government during the state of emergency. During this time we will be providing full online learning for all our students. We are determined to ensure that learning continues at the same pace and with the same effectiveness as normal.
 
We would like to share some resources about online education as well as upcoming events to help keep our community informed.
 
Please make sure you visit this page frequently to find the latest news.
 

Informative webinars (recordings)

Frequently Asked Questions - Section 1: Online Education

Unfortunately, we do not know when we will be allowed to return. The government has not made any specific announcements regarding when or how schools will reopen, as it does not know how this crisis will evolve and when conditions will be safe enough to allow children to return. We heard that this may have happened on May 4th but now, that is not going to be the case. The school is prepared to teach the whole of the second bimester online if we need to. We would like to think that we will be back, in some form for the second half of the year but if not, then we will continue for as long as we have to. Our main goal is to ensure that, however the situation evolves, students’ learning does not suffer.
 
Part of the confusion is caused by the rumours that are sent around and by statements made by unofficial organisations about what they think should happen. We strongly advise parents to ignore any statement that does not come from the President or from MINEDU.
This will depend significantly on the guidelines the government sets down. We anticipate that there will be a regulation that indicates that some particular groups of students will be allowed to return at different times. In other countries, they have prioritised exam students, while some have prioritised the youngest students.
 
There are likely to be restrictions about the numbers allowed in school at any time, and the amount of space they need in order to work. We will obviously comply with all regulations and go further if we feel we need to in order to ensure the safety of the children. This will include upgrading sanitary installations throughout the school. We may have students in part-time, so we have different year groups at different times.
We understand that health is the major concern for everyone. We also realise that families have vulnerable people at home and cannot risk a child coming home infected, even if they show no symptoms themselves. When we do come back, we will accept any decision by parents who opt to keep their children at home until they are confident of the safety of coming to school. This may be until next year.
 
We undertake to continue online learning for that period of time alongside anything that happens in school. This may change in nature as we will be able to include live and recorded classes that are taking place in school, for those at home to watch and engage in. We will set up protocols for this to happen.
We consulted with schools around the world. In particular, we spoke with schools in Asia who had been working online since mid-January. We talked to teachers, heads of schools and with leaders of groups of schools in order to get the best practice from them and to learn from their mistakes. We also looked at research published worldwide in educational circles. There is a lot of experienced advice out there, and we continually consult this to improve our programme.
 
Currently, we meet regularly with schools across Latin America to compare the solutions they are offering to the challenges we are all facing.
Our main platforms are Google Classroom, Seesaw and Zoom. We are also using other tools to support this in various areas, in order to support these platforms.
 
We chose Google Classroom because it is a platform that many teachers have been using for a while. It has been around in education for many years and become a more and more sophisticated tool that is universally praised among schools that use it.
 
Seesaw is newer but is the platform we have been using in Early Years already. It allows a clear description of the developmental goals that the students have and supports communication between home and school.
 
Zoom was chosen because many schools around the world told us it was easy to use and found it indispensable for online learning. We were already using it for online meetings with organisations and schools around the world. This faith in the ease and value of Zoom has been confirmed by students and parents in our surveys and other feedback. They tend to want more of it rather than less.
 
Zoom has been controversial because of security issues. So far we see that they have changed various aspects of the platform to improve security. We have researched good practice and given further in-service training to teachers in terms of how teachers need to use Zoom to avoid problems. We note that schools who stopped using Zoom have now begun using it again. This includes the Singapore Government who removed Zoom because of security issues from all schools and then reinstated it when they were confident it would work. We have a more technical document on security in Zoom available on request.
Planning for the shutdown began as soon as teachers returned in mid-February.

Seesaw was in use in Early Years from last year and teacher training was well underway before this crisis.

Google Classroom was in use by some teachers and has been for years. They have been the experts who have led the training for all staff.

Zoom training began in the week before the shutdown. We trained a team of experts in all sections and then spent two full days without children in school training for the rest of the staff.
In each section, there is a combination of live online experiences with teachers and, where relevant, assistants, and tasks for independent study and learning to be done offline. The balance of these activities varies depending on the context. We recognise the differences between children of different ages in terms of their independence and their attention span.

In addition to the academic programme we are adding more and more different activities that vary from Yoga to Music and Exercise.

We also see the vital role that online education plays in enabling social contact for young people and the needs they have to break the walls of isolation at home for their mental and psychological health.
Assessment continues as it normally would throughout the school. Written work and class presentations have always allowed us to assess learning and that continues in all sections. So far we are seeing children reaching the targets we expect.
 
In some areas, this is hard while we are online, as it involves observation of the behaviours of young children. This is also true of some aspects of learning for older students. To get a complete picture of the students and their learning we will have to assess some of these aspects when we are back in school.
There are two variables that affect any planning for recuperation. The first is to see how long the quarantine period goes on. Obviously the less time we are out of school the less we will need any recuperation. The second variable is the nature of the children themselves. Some will engage more in the programme and some learn more successfully than others. So full assessment when we return will be important to decide how much recuperation we need. We think it is very likely that recuperation of some sort will be necessary, in various areas, but we will need to look at this when the school reopens.
We are confident that any student who takes a full part in Markham’s online programme will be fully equipped to pass the year and move successfully on to the next year of school. This will also be true for those who opt to stay at home for health reasons and continue to be online until December.
If a student only engages partly in the programme, and doesn’t complete the assignments set, then the rules for them are the same as they would be in school. Teachers will advise if there is a danger in not completing the year, as we normally do, and plan remedial work to reach the targets.
If a student is taken out of the school online programme altogether, then we will need other evidence to show that they have had sufficient education and developed the skills expected during the time they are away. For P1 and above, this may involve testing them to confirm they can go into the following year.
 
In the case of our youngest children in Nursery, Pre K and Kindergarten, students would be placed in the following year by age. However, we are convinced that continuing with the programme throughout this year is the best way for a child to prepare for the following year. If they are not present they may suffer when they return and find it hard to catch up.
 
If there is a specific reason why you feel you need to do this, please contact the school and we can discuss it.
Please contact the class teacher or form tutor. We understand that some find this interface hard and we sympathise with them. We will do whatever we can to make them comfortable, and modify any demands we have to ensure their learning continues successfully.
The mental and psychological effects of isolation within a family are well documented. We understand that for a few children this can be a serious problem. We also know that there are physical health issues whether they are associated with Covid 19 or not, that can affect children. Please keep us informed of any issues so we can support in whatever way we can. Our student support team is ready to help and be consulted at any time.
 
Counselling services in all 3 sections continue to be available for students and all concerned parents. If you want to inquire about this please contact the Head of Counselling, Bruno Landa.
Reassure them that they are with friends – they’re still working with their classmates even if it is via a screen: over time the children have become a lot more confident with this new way of communicating. If you are with them, gently prompt them to share their ideas/answers with the group.

Please don’t force children to speak though – they will come forward when they are ready to take that risk: it might seem like a little risk to us as adults, but for children this can be a huge step. Just like in the classroom!
Most teachers recognise that parents are giving quite a lot of support to the children at the moment. Please don’t feel duty-bound to do so though! Assistance by way of encouragement, helping with materials, helping with technology, etc. is wonderful – try however to let your child take as much ownership of their learning as you can: by all means, help your child make a few corrections to their written work here and there, but as teachers, we are not expecting perfect drafts. In fact – the more you let them do on their own, the more the teachers will be able to gauge how well they have grasped concepts/techniques.
Please review this guide for some helpful tips.

Frequently Asked Questions - Section 2: External Agencies

Fortunately the major changes in international exams are happening in May and June and so will affect schools in the northern hemisphere. For these students IB and IGCSE exam sessions have been cancelled. The IB has declared that students will be assessed on the coursework elements of the programme only. Obviously we hope that the situation has normalised enough for exams to take place in November. If not the coursework element of all courses will be very important. We are making this clear to students on these courses.
Yes. The school is in constant communication with the authorities and has complied with everything asked of it to date. 
We sent a full description of our proposed programme to the UGEL on March 23rd. We have updated that plan with the modifications and improvements that have been made to our programme and sent this information to them.

Note that UGEL has informed us that the plan needs to be in a format described by MINEDU in a technical regulation that they are due to send out. Currently, MINEDU has not sent out this regulation, and this is confirmed by the UGEL. This means that once they do send it out we will probably have to rewrite the programme in the format they require.
UGEL has not responded directly to the document sent in. However we are in contact with them and we hope for a response to the revised document. Their main current concern is that we communicate with parents. We believe we are doing this better and better. The surveys and their reports, the direct contact through meetings, the information about programmes and this FAQ are all part of the process to steadily improve our communication.
MINEDU reached out to us to look for best practice in online education. We have been sharing our resources and expertise so that they can use these in the national programme. An important part of the Markham philosophy has always been to support the education in the country we live in. Our work in training teachers in local schools and our cooperation with the COAR schools has paused during the quarantine period, but we are doing what we can to support the national programme.
This process continues as normal. Our counselling team will support students in making the correct applications to colleges and universities in Peru and around the world. Contact the Head of Counselling, Bruno Landa, for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions - Section 3: Financial Issues

During March and April, we have been able to identify monthly savings, this has been addressed in our financial summary which has also been shared internally with all Markham parents (12 May). The effect of this in the school fees has also been communicated to all parents via a letter (10 May).

We are constantly analysing our cost structure and if we were to assume that online learning continued for the rest of 2020, the material further savings could be realised. Our intention is to pass on these savings to parents when the situation becomes clearer and we are more confident that these savings will occur and when we can also estimate any costs increases which might occur due to the pandemic - for example increases in hygiene and EPP equipment provisions. Late payment or non-payment of fees will also decrease any savings, and so it is important that these are communicated to the finance department so we can plan properly.
We recognise that children gradually become more independent and more responsible for their learning. For the youngest children, those skills and habits are undeveloped and they cannot be confidently left on their own to complete tasks. When we are in school, a significant part of the role of the teacher and teaching assistants is monitoring and supervising activity to make sure that small children are safe, focused on their tasks and productive. When we are learning online the teachers will plan the curriculum, set up the activities and assess the students as normal. But, the supervision and monitoring role falls to the parents. Education is always teamwork between home and school, but when we are online the balance tips towards the parents more in Early Years than in other sections. For this reason, we wanted to recognise this with the following reductions:
  • Nursery, a total of 50% cut in the full fee
  • Pre K, Kindergarten and P1, a total of 25% cut in the full fee
This approach has been common in many schools around the world who see the same issues as we do. The choice of the fee reduction is a balance between what we know the school can afford and the needs of some families. We know that many families in Early Years can afford to continue paying the full fees. Indeed a few have turned down the offer of a reduction. We also know that there are families who currently have financial constraints that mean they cannot pay the reduced fee. We are helping these families on an individual basis.
In short, yes. The school has carefully analysed its cost structure to operate in the most efficient manner possible during these uncertain times. Our pledge to our parents is that to the extent there are net savings, they will be given back to all parents.
 
We have calculated what savings are being made and completely rewriting the budget for the year in the light of changes in costs and changes in income. As a result, we are able to cut school fees for all children at Markham. These are the reductions in detail:
  • Nursery, a total of 50% cut in the full fee
  • Pre K, Kindergarten and P1, a total of 25% cut in the full fee
  • P2 to 6B, a total of 10% cut in the full fee
These cuts will first be reflected in the May fee payments and will carry on for as long as we are unable to return to school This may be part or all of the remaining school year. Please be aware that these figures are based on estimated savings over the rest of this year. On the one hand, they represent a risk to the future financial stability of the school, if the economic situation gets worse. On the other hand, we will continually recalculate savings during the year and it may be that we find more that we can distribute to parents.
Our main concern is to continue education for all children, and so the Board and management of the school have decided that our first priority with savings that we have been able to make is to support those families who are genuinely struggling to pay the fees due to the current economic situation. Those who have approached us with their concerns have been given full reassurances that their children's education will continue, and they are being provided with financial assistance. Once we have returned to normal and the family is on the way to financial security we can discuss what happens next. If you are in this situation, then please contact Miriam Parodi, our Director of Finance, at miriam.parodi@markham.edu.pe and we will provide the support we can.
 
It is important that those who can do so, continue to pay the fees. This is the only way we can support those who are genuinely struggling. We have the ability and the strength of character to share our problems and come together to help those in need. I am sure the Markham community wants to do this in good faith.
We understand that the current crisis has affected the compensation, employment, and businesses of many Markham families. Our current aim is to assist all families facing a real inability to pay school fees in full as a result of the crisis so that no child’s education is interrupted during 2020. If you feel that your family requires assistance, please contact Miriam Parodi, our Director of Finance, at miriam.parodi@markham.edu.pe to discuss how to proceed. All cases will be handled confidentially.
The cuotas de ingreso are paid into the accounts of the AEBP, and are used to fund the long-term infrastructure needs of the school, such as the Upper School investment projects and the planned Lower School re-building project. It is this separation between the operating budget, paid through fees, and the capital investment budget, which has allowed our students to benefit from world-class facilities when they entered Markham, and it is our responsibility to maintain this infrastructure for future generations. If we are not careful about this distinction, we will be unable to meet the infrastructure needs of current and future students.
Our fundamental financial structure separates our finances into two areas.

The operating budget comes from the fees parents pay and covers all the expenses of running a school, teaching children, paying staff, buying books, equipment and services. All ongoing educational costs come from this budget, which is why we need everyone to pay their fees if they can.

The capital budget is funded by the cuota de ingreso that parents pay once when their children join the school. This goes into a separate organisation called the AEBP (Asociación Educacional Británica del Perú) which owns the land, the buildings, the fixtures and fittings that make up the physical school. Each year we have a number of major and minor building projects to fund and other major purchases of such things as IT equipment.

In recent years, the capital budget has been in debt due to the loans for the building of the Arts Centre, the Science Centre and the Car Park on the San Antonio site. Last year these loans were cleared so that we can start building up savings for the next major building which is the new Lower School and Car Park at Monterrico.
Teachers and administrative staff were promised and contracted for a pay increase to take effect in 2020. We have taken the decision not to award this increase, so their salary has reduced from what was planned. Furthermore, our teachers and staff are generally working more hours than during term time to adapt to, and impart, on-line lessons and we don't believe it is fair to impose further salary reductions in these circumstances. This is different than in other businesses where people might not be working at all or business has substantially reduced during the quarantine. We are however making further salary reductions for certain PE and Music teachers who are contracted by the hour, and who cannot currently provide a service to students. In these cases, we are considering if Markham is their major employer or if they have other sources of income and making appropriate adjustments. Additionally, we expect to increase the provision of on-line activities through the second bimester and beyond where these teachers can provide a service and be remunerated for it. As for Board members, they provide their services on an ad-honorem basis.
The main asset the school rents to third parties is the parking lot in the San Antonio campus. We generally expect rental payment from Wong for this, however, this year due to COVID19, we do not expect any material revenue from the parking lot rental.
The Lower School project is currently in the very early stages of planning. Only our project managers and lawyers have been selected and we don't have any specific contractual commitments beyond this. The next major milestone will be the selection of potential architects for the project, which we expect to happen in August or September. At this stage it is unclear if we will be able to keep to this timetable, given the delays caused by COVID19. Once we reach this milestone, we will evaluate the situation, as it might not be possible to continue at the same pace if architects are unable to visit the site. We will also consider the state of the pandemic and our general finances. Furthermore, our current timetable indicates construction should only start by the end of 2021, during which the building design and planning stages the capital spend will be limited.
The AEBP is the promoting entity of Markham College and is the owner of all the facilities the school uses to offer its educational services, as well as the planning and development of new facilities for the future of the school. As it is explained year on year in the annual asambleas, the school has always covered the depreciation of the assets it uses, which belong to the AEBP. As the AEBP cannot invoice this cost without generating an 18% tax, which would be an important expenditure for the parents, it is registered as a donation in accounting, which fulfils the purpose of adequately registering the expenditure in the school without generating undue taxes.

All the parents who start a relationship with Markham subscribe, without exception, to an agreement with the AEBP. In doing so, they become AEBP associates during the time their children remain in the school. Since it began, the Asociación has been made up of parents who, like you, have gone through the school, as well as a few “asociados promotores” who supported the school during its foundation and in difficult times.

In other words, the AEBP doesn’t have "owners" nor does it distribute "dividends" to anyone. All its resources are invested to benefit the students at Markham. The Board members, additionally, do not receive any compensation.
The 2019 audited financial statement is currently being finalised and approved by our auditors. These are traditionally published every year at the asamblea general. When they are completed we will provide a copy. The 2020 budget is currently being revised for the ongoing savings and changes in fees and will be presented in the next asamblea general.
We are currently looking into the possibility of having a virtual asamblea general in June. We will determine if this is possible soon and let you know.

Markham College in the Media

Online learning during Coronavirus times - Column by our Headmaster, Chris Binge, published in Gestion (14.04.2020).
Interview with our Peruvian director, Marco Bassino, in a Gestion webinar (16.04.2020)