Welcome to the 2020/2021 academic year – one like no other!
We realise this has been a really tricky start to the year for everyone already. We hope the “new normal” is mostly normal and not too new anymore although it looks like we have a turbulent time ahead still with so much talk of possible local lockdowns, some already in place, as well as tighter restrictions coming back for leisure and other areas.
We think teachers and school leaders are doing an amazing job to keep our young people happy and educated, in amongst everything going on, with the mounting pressures on all fronts. We have read headlines about bubbles being home, and indeed some of our own children are in school with runny noses and as parents we are all just crossing fingers that they don’t start coughing or get the dreaded temperature which will lead us to a queue for the nearest test centre! Support staff must not be forgotten either as we cannot imagine how many calls they are getting per day from concerned parents and while trying to navigate all the new admin processes needed. Unsung heroes all of you! Please say a big thank you to all of your staff from us. We are humbled by your greatness.
That said there is still work to be done and we want to help. We know that you are being asked to put in place remote learning plans to help those self isolating to carry on their learning, and for those bubbles which have to close. We know you have been asked to ensure this is the same learning as children would be having on site. We also know how impossible that sounds! Not every school has the capacity to move to live lessons via Zoom or similar.
How are schools managing their remote learning plans? We have heard of a number of approaches which fit broadly into the following headings (and scroll down for some great examples and tips on how your website can help facilitate these too):
- Online and live learning – most learning is delivered via live classes or recorded sessions which cover exactly the same as the teachers would have taught in class. This is hard for schools to do if they have some students in school and some out. Some schools have moved staff around to ensure some are in charge of just online learning. But this is not possible everywhere
- Some live teaching but mostly online resources – making use of Oak National Academy and White Rose or BBC resources, some schools are doing a light-touch approach to live online lessons but have planned their curriculum around content from providers to ensure a move to online learning is smooth and easy
- Mostly offline learning – some schools simply do not have capacity or technology, or know their students don’t, for lots of online lessons or resources. These schools may have plans to print weekly packs of learning materials, which will be the same sheets used in class for those in school. They may supplement this with some online links and occasional Zoom or similar for a more personal meet to check on pupils in groups.
Whichever type of plan you are going for, your school website can be a great central hub for parents to find the information and resources they need. Of course we do not recommend sharing live lesson links on your website as these are too vulnerable to non students using them. However if you are using resources from other providers you can easily add links to the school website. Most schools are, at a minimum, adding a policy for remote learning to their website and many are augmenting that with weekly timetable overviews or subject areas so that parents can find the right learning for each week.
Some examples of Greenhouse School Website customers who have created great remote learning pages are below so feel free to get some ideas!
The North School has created a really comprehensive area for their plans and resources
Birchgrove Comprehensive have added a really easy-to-navigate page for each subject which then leads to resources within the learning platform or externally, as well as adding links to policies and other resources. Although another login is required this visibility of the resources helps parents to know what is expected and available.
Younger students are less likely to have all of their learning online but Beecroft Garden Primary have added their maths links for White Rose for each day and will be updating these weekly and you can see via this link that for EYFS they have added lots of other resources from other websites which will be really useful for their parents and students.
Preston Park Primary have added pages for each year group, really easy to navigate to with this attractive photo page, and will be updating their learning each week as needed. They have also added curriculum maps to help parents and information on what they are focusing on each week.