Gavin Williamson has used powers under the Coronavirus Act to place a legal duty on schools to provide “high-quality and consistent” teaching to students who are forced to self-isolate at home. This was the startling news story I read first thing on Friday morning.
We have had guidance for some time now identifying the need for quality remote provision and schools have been proactive in seeking out the best solutions or dusting down the ones that hadn’t previously been fully utilised, but to find it enshrined in law was still a bit of a shock. So, what should schools do? There are some very simple things.
Provide continuity between in school and remote learning.
The more that teachers and children use the remote provision whilst the school is fully functioning, the better the engagement should be if the school goes into lockdown or has bubbles that need to isolate. Use your remote provision on a day to day basis, set tasks and homework and ensure some home learning is undertaken via your provision as much as possible. This will connect your pupils and make for an easier transition should the worst happen.
Recognise that remote learning is different.
We can’t simply replicate teaching or learning in person to remote practice. They are fundamentally different. But not all is bad. Remote provision enables children to do activities at times that best suit them. Not all children will have the ‘ideal’ circumstances at the same time. Use that knowledge and be flexible with access to activities. Support children with good quality online communication, such as blogs, forum or emails. Try and use your provision to set routine, similar to that used in the classroom. If children are used to following a learning order in school, try to replicate that within your home learning.
Choose an age appropriate solution
Assess the needs of the age group you are teaching. Ensure that you choose solutions and resources, which are age-appropriate and easy for your pupils to grasp and use. Solutions which are easy for children to use are also easy for parents to support. Assess the variety of learning and ensure your pupils are offered a diverse range of activities to keep them engaged.
Consider safeguarding implications carefully.
Switching to live online lessons with young children is fraught with issues that have not yet been ironed out and guidance is poor. What are the implications of using systems that enable cameras in children’s or teachers’ homes? Will the children use such systems provided by, or encouraged through the school to connect with one another? Where would the responsibility lay if something goes wrong? These are aspects of remote learning that need to be considered carefully.
Ensure your remote provisions are both GDPR compliant and the offer the highest level of security for your school data.
Finally, recognise that a mixed economy is hard to manage.
Remote learning for isolating bubbles or individuals is difficult to deliver whilst the rest of the school is operating normally, so consider how activities may be adapted and don’t panic. If you are already using remote activities as part of your provision, it’s a case of building on the best practice and not reinventing the wheel.
Looking for remote learning provisions?
If you are looking to implement primary remote learning provisions for your school, take a look at DB Primary. Much more than just a content portal, it also provides vital communication and collaboration tools.
If you would like any more information, please do not hesitate to contact us.