Remote education provision: Information for parents/carers

 

This information is intended to provide clarity and transparency to pupils and parents or carers about what to expect from remote education if local restrictions require entire cohorts (or bubbles) to remain at home. For details of what to expect where individual pupils are self-isolating, please see the final section of this page.

The use of remote learning in schools across the Trust has developed significantly in response to the COVID-19 emergency.

We have built on previous approaches to home learning which we had already developed but have also taken the opportunity to explore new ideas and further improve our use of technology for learning.

We provide a blend of remote learning activities for pupils. Online resources are accessible through Google Classroom or Class DoJo and DropBox. Resources include some sessions recorded by TST staff, some independent work activities and links to a wide range of online resources, including the BBC and the Oak National Academy.

We also aim to include an element of live interaction between staff and students although this will take different formats for each school. Any live sessions are supported by a thorough risk assessment and clear protocols for parents, pupils and staff to follow.

Clear guidance is provided regarding the structure of the day although we also recognise that flexibility is essential for families working at home.

Sufficient work is set to meet the government guidelines for the time to be spent each day on remote learning, but we do not expect all this to be screen time. However, we have ensured that all pupils within our Trust schools have access to a device at home through which they can access the online resources.

Each school has developed its own remote learning policy and details of the remote learning offer for each of our schools is set out on the individual school web-sites. All our schools are fully compliant with the government guidelines on remote learning (January 2021).

The remote curriculum: what is taught to pupils at home

A pupil’s first day or two of being educated remotely might look different from our standard approach, while we take all necessary actions to prepare for a longer period of remote teaching.

What should my child expect from immediate remote education in the first day or two of pupils being sent home?

As the Google Classroom platform is an established part of the school’s teaching approach, students will be asked to start work using Google Classroom from day one. However, this work may focus on core subjects in the first instance.

Following the first few days of remote education, will my child be taught broadly the same curriculum as they would if they were in school?

The curriculum for remote learning aims to cover the same content as we do in school where this is possible and appropriate. This includes the full range of subjects for each year group. However, some changes have been made to accommodate a range of factors that make this difficult in some subjects. Examples of this include:

  • Some visual arts subjects where a lack of access to specialist equipment or resources would make progress difficult
  • Practical work – particularly any that requires group collaboration such as in Music or Dance
  • Practical experiments in Science

Remote teaching and study time each day

How long can I expect work set by the school to take my child each day?

We expect that remote education (including remote teaching and independent work) will take pupils broadly the following number of hours each day:

Secondary school-aged pupils not working towards formal qualifications this year: 5

Secondary school-aged pupils working towards formal qualifications this year: 5

Students should be doing a minimum of 5 hours work a day. If, after this time, tasks are incomplete, students are encouraged to complete the section they are on and hand the work in via Google Classroom – even if it is not fully complete.

Should students wish to return to the work later, if time allowed, Google Classroom has the facility to resubmit work.

Students in Years 10 to 13 may have more pressing demands for important work deadlines and should expect to spend more time working on these where this is the case.

Accessing remote education

How will my child access any online remote education you are providing?

Students are asked to complete tasks in line with their normal school timetable. All work is set via Google Classroom for which every student must use their SCHOOL email address (a private email address will not work – even if it is Gmail). Tasks may well require access to other websites and learning platforms – where this is the case, links will be provided within the Google Classroom assignments.

These are set as assignments at or before 9am on the day of the lesson and will have a “due” date. The “due” date will appear in the linked Google Calendar and will also be the same day as the normal timetabled lesson. This will help students with the organisation of their work.

Each class has its own unique class code. Check that your son/daughter can access each separate Google Classroom for every subject they study. If they need to join any missing classes, this can be done by emailing their teacher using their SCHOOL email address to request the code. Alternatively, contact your college office who will be able to assist further.

If my child does not have digital or online access at home, how will you support them to access remote education?

We recognise that some pupils may not have suitable online access at home. We take the following approaches to support those pupils to access remote education:

Where parents do not have online access to remote education or where a student does not understand how to use or access their Google Classrooms effectively, parents should contact their child’s college. School staff will assist parents where possible by putting one of the following interventions in place. Priority will always be given to trying to solve the issue of digital access before work is provided as a hard copy.

  1. If students have access to digital resources but they are anxious about using IT, the school will either send instructional videos to the child or arrange an online support session with a member of staff
  2. If students do not have access to a computer or the internet at home, the school will look to offer a loan device and/or 4G router where this is possible
  3. Colleges will ensure that parents are aware that Google Classroom can be accessed through gaming consoles as per the following:
  4. Support may be offered, as appropriate, through the National Tutoring programme
  5. The school may offer a student the opportunity to come onto site ether part-time or full-time so that they may access digital technology
  6. Where access to digital technology cannot be accessed, the school will arrange for work to be made available as a hard copy. Arrangements for distribution of work and the marking of completed assignments will be coordinated by Mrs Dale who will liaise with college staff as appropriate

How will my child be taught remotely?

We use a combination of the following approaches to teach pupils remotely:

The primary focus for remote learning is on recorded content. This allows students to access work more easily if following the timetabled day is not possible. This approach is also less likely to disadvantage those students without access to the right kind of device and/or adequate internet access. Most content is bespoke and is designed to support students in explaining tasks, exploring new concepts or providing specific details on how to approach a particular skill. Other recorded content is provided by a range of trusted providers including Oak National Academy and The Greenshaw Learning Trust.

Teachers are available during each of their timetabled lessons for students to contact them via the Google Classroom should they have any questions.

Live teaching is available for students in Key Stage 5. We are also making available some live tutoring and intervention work for our students with particular needs who are unable to attend our onsite provision as they once again require some specialist support.

Please be assured that we are constantly trying new ways to improve the effectiveness of our remote provision, this will always be evidence-informed and take into account the context of our school community.

Engagement and feedback

What are your expectations for my child’s engagement and the support that we as parents and carers should provide at home?

Students are asked to follow their normal school timetable as this will help them with the organisation of their work and mean that their teachers can be on hand to answer any questions or concerns more quickly.

Assignments are set at or before 9am on the day of the lesson and will have a “due” date. The “due” date will appear in the linked Google Calendar and will also be the same day as the normal timetabled lesson.

We ask you to support by helping to ensure that clear routines are established and that your son/daughter is able to complete work according to their normal timetable. If your son/daughter does not have a copy of their timetable then you can access it through the parental SIMs app or, failing this, request it from their college. We would also ask you to check that your son/daughter can access the work set on Google Classroom and that you contact the school if you are aware of any problems.

Please encourage your son/daughter to communicate with their teacher(s) if they are at all anxious. As always, all of the staff at Homewood are very keen to support the students and to ensure that they continue to make good progress in their studies.

Please note that further details and support for parents/carers about remote learning at Homewood can be found via the following link: Remote Learning: Parent Guide

We thank all of you as parents/carers for your continued support and co-operation.

How will you check whether my child is engaging with their work and how will I be informed if there are concerns?

Teachers will monitor the completion of tasks set on a weekly basis. Where they notice that tasks have not been attempted students will be contacted directly by teaching staff via the Private Comments section of Google Classroom in the first instance. If this does not generate a response parents will be contacted directly via email to offer support and identify how students can be encouraged to participate.

Where we notice that a lack of engagement has become a broader concern, contact will be made via a student college to explore where other support can be put in place.

We do obviously appreciate that there will be occasions when students may be struggling or in need of some additional support either with their work or wellbeing, and telephone calls will therefore be made home to offer advice and guidance. There is also the possibility for us to arrange for a student to have a conversation with a member of staff via Google Meet. If you think that your son/daughter would benefit from either a telephone call or virtual meeting, please contact their college.

How will you assess my child’s work and progress?

Feedback can take many forms and may not always mean extensive written comments for individual children. For example, whole-class feedback or quizzes marked automatically via digital platforms are also valid and effective methods, amongst many others. Our approach to feeding back on pupil work is as follows:

Students will be provided with regular feedback appropriate to the tasks set. This will take one or more of the following forms:

  • Individual feedback that identifies areas of success and specific areas for further improvement. This will usually be provided through the “Private Comments” section for individual assignments in Google Classroom.
  • Written responses to questions from students about their work
  • Level descriptors that relate to the extent to which students have been successful in completing the task set
  • Model answers against which students can compare their own work
  • Results from online quizzes – often used as “entry” and “exit” tasks
  • Personalised feedback generated by work completed in online learning platforms.

Additional support for pupils with particular needs

How will you work with me to help my child who needs additional support from adults at home to access remote education?

We recognise that some pupils, for example some pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), may not be able to access remote education without support from adults at home. We acknowledge the difficulties this may place on families, and we will work with parents and carers to support those pupils in the following ways:

Members of the Learning Support Department will be providing regular and personalised support to students and their parents for students with EHCPs, who are members of Key Skills classes, or members of our supported mainstream classes, along with other individual students who have been identified on a case-by-case basis.

Support staff are also working closely with class teachers to provide additional support to both teachers and the students with specific subjects and tasks set on Google Classrooms. This includes additional differentiation of work and personalised approaches to managing student workload.

Our SENCO will continue to support class teachers with guidance and best practice advice to aid their work with students remotely.

Live Google Meet intervention and study support sessions for specific students who are normally involved in such activities will also be offered. Where such sessions would not be appropriate, an alternative will be offered.

Our Learning Support Newsletter will provide parents and students with additional support, guidance and strategies for remote learning while also celebrating the successes students are achieving.

All students with an EHCP or who are a member of one of our Key Skills classes have been offered and will continue to be offered a place in our small school provision.

We will, if deemed necessary, and following a full risk assessment, invite students with SEND into school to help them overcome particular difficulties and provide them with support and strategies to enable them to continue with their studies at home.

Remote education for self-isolating pupils

Where individual pupils need to self-isolate but the majority of their peer group remains in school, how remote education is provided will likely differ from the approach for whole groups. This is due to the challenges of teaching pupils both at home and in school.

If my child is not in school because they are self-isolating, how will their remote education differ from the approaches described above?

While schools are open but students have been asked to self-isolate, work is set in Google Classroom on a weekly basis. Students should access this work from the first day of absence. The work is organised by subject and year group – with a separate Google Classroom for each. If a student is having difficulty accessing this work, assistance can be sought via the college office.