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Remote Learning Updates January 2021

Teaching and learning provision online 

At William Ellis School our remote learning offer is delivered through Microsoft Teams.  This software means that all students and families will have access to Microsoft products from home, using this world class software throughout their secondary education. One of the benefits of Microsoft Office 365 is that the tools can be used on all devices - computers, tablets and phones - anywhere with a Wi-Fi or data connection. We would like you to support your son to use these tools productively for his learning. All pupils have been using MS Teams since September 2020 and have received training and guidance on how to use it effectively. 

Our core remote teaching approach is delivering live teaching (online lessons).  Our provision has been adjusted to provide 5 hours of remote learning per day in total. The lessons will follow each student’s usual in-school timetable and the live lessons will include a minimum of 45 minutes contact time, with tutor registrations or assemblies in the morning and afternoon. Pupils are also expected to do at least one hour of reading at home each week, from a book at home, The Day or the e-books available from the Camden Library Service

Learning at home is best when it’s a mixture of blended learning activities and this his includes live teaching, but also students completing structured work set by their teachers where there is help available without constant interaction.  However, there may be occasions where other approaches are also used, such as: 

  • recorded teaching (e.g. Oak National Academy lessons, video/audio recordings made by teachers) 

  • printed paper packs produced by teachers (e.g. workbooks, worksheets) 

  • textbooks and reading books pupils have at home 

  • commercially available websites supporting the teaching of specific subjects or areas, including video clips or sequences 

Remote education should still deliver the curriculum, but it is likely to focus on ensuring that students develop and secure the most important and fundamental skills and knowledge in each subject. Therefore, lessons are likely to include a mixture of new material, and revision and consolidation. 

Compulsory homework has been suspended although teachers will very often set extension and challenge tasks for pupils to complete independently.  

 

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 

  • Pastoral leaders have been working hard since September 2020 to ensure pupils have digital access.  Please contact your son's Pastoral Lead/the School Office if you need help with this-either in terms of borrowing a laptop or collecting a SIM card for WIFI access.  Both are available for free. 

  • Pupils without access should contact the school and work will be sent home.  This can be brought in every two weeks so that it can be marked. 

 

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

  • Students should check their Teams calendar at 8:30am each day for their timetable of lessons, and the assignments for independent work they have been set. Families can find information about remote learning and our policy on the Home and Remote Learning page. 

  • Pupils are expected to follow their normal timetable from home, which will be delivered as 'live lessons'.  They will also have 'live registration' as normal in the mornings with their form tutors. 

  • Help them maintain a sense of routine – they should get up, be ready for the day and have breakfast before school activities online start at 8:35am. They should also eat/drink in breaks between lessons as they would at school.  

  • Ask them regularly throughout the day to show you the work that they have done 

  • If your child’s school is providing live online lessons, listen out for what the teacher is saying for a few minutes and then, if the teacher asks a question (and doesn’t ask your child to answer), you can prompt your child to give you the answer instead. The microphone is on mute so no one in the class will hear them.  

  • Remind them to switch off other applications, particularly social media, while they are working 

  • We know that they are currently having more screen time than normally would be ideal. Encourage them to get away from any kind of screen 

 

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

  • Pastoral leaders will check weekly on pupil attendance and engagement using daily attendance reports and feedback from departments. Senior leaders also run regular checks on lesson activity.  Where concerns are detected, parents will be contacted by the school. 

  • The school will run Virtual Parents evenings so that teachers can discuss pupil engagement in person. 

 

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

Ongoing assessment of students’ learning is critical to teachers being able to best address their needs and extend their areas of strength. Students will therefore be asked to submit work as assignments, including typed pieces of extended writing and photographs of work done at home.  Other methods will also be used such as: 

  • Live marking pupil work submitted on Teams 

  • Whole-class feedback or quizzes marked automatically via digital platforms  

  • Live feedback during online lessons 

 

Additional support for pupils with particular needs 

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: 

  • Teachers will continue to provide and set work which is carefully differentiate in order to ensure that work is accessible for all learners and supports them to make good progress, no matter their starting point. 

  • During the independent working part of online lessons, teachers will use online ‘break-out rooms’ where they will be able to answer questions in more detail, go over tasks and activities and use additional resources, such as online whiteboards and immersive reader technology, to assist students in need of additional support. 

  • In some cases, additional intervention work is also continuing; families involved in these schemes will be contacted directly by a member of staff. 

  • Where students with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) are continuing to have difficulty with managing online learning, they should contact Mr Glover, Head of Additional Educational Needs & SENDCo, to discuss options for additional support or opportunities to join the on-site provision.  

  • Students with Education, Health and Care plans (EHCPs) have been invited to join the onsite provision on a full-time basis. Where these families may have initially decided not to take up this offer, it is strongly advised that they contact Mr Glover if they change their minds or if further difficulties with online learning arise. 

 

Online Safety

Students should ensure that they keep their login details private. They must not help anyone else access things they shouldn’t or pass on someone else’s login details. Some posters produced by the National Online Safety organisation, giving tips for students and families to stay safe online and get the most out of remote learning, can be downloaded below.