Becket Keys School remote education provision: information for parents
This information is intended to provide clarity and transparency to students and parents or carers about what to expect from remote education when we are in a period of local or national restrictions which require entire cohorts (or bubbles) to remain at home.
Becket Keys Church of England School is highly committed to outstanding teaching and learning and will work tirelessly to ensure that all students can continue to make excellent progress when working remotely.
We prioritise student safety and have carefully considered systems in place to ensure that students are safe on-line and teach these skills daily in our lessons.
Remote learning may commence for a variety of reasons and this document intends to explain all of these in some detail: National Lockdown, Local Lockdown, Cohort Lockdown, Partial Lockdown and self-isolation due to infection or contact with an infected person. For details of what to expect where individual students are self-isolating (but the rest of the cohort are in school), please see the final section of this document. The majority of the material here is addressing imposed lockdown of significant numbers of students or indeed the whole school.
We start with some practical tips for parents.
5 Practical Tips: how can I help from home?*
- Make sure your son/daughter has eaten breakfast and is ready before 8:30 for the first lesson to start with all that is needed: technology, paper, pens.
- Check written work as often as you can. Every 20 minutes would be ideal, but every 30 or 60 minutes is also fine. Sign your initials in the margin, that way, when you come back you can see what they have completed since you were last there. It will also show teachers that you are checking! Even if you can only do this for 30 seconds a few times a day it will make a big difference!
- If there is a live lesson going on, listen to the teacher for a few minutes and ask your son/daughter to explain what is being taught. If a question is asked, encourage him/her to respond to the teacher or give you the answer to the question. Compare it with the answer given by another student.
- If a video has been provided, pause it and ask your son/daughter to explain the content. It would be a good idea to rewind and watch again if a good explanation cannot be given.
- See what else is open on the desktop. It can be tempting for some students minimise and maximise between schoolwork and other distractions. You can look at the ‘history’ on the browser to check this too.
What else can I do?
- Ask if there is extension work. Check with the teachers if your son/daughter is regularly finishing early. You can send teachers a message via: www.becketkeys.org/contact.php
- Check what is happening on screens in “free time”. It would be good to get away from screens during down time. SnapChat, Instagram and WhatsApp are a dangerous waste of time. Limit these to an hour per day. Netflix and YouTube are also tempting ways to while away the hours. What is being watched? How many episodes? One or two episodes a day is more than enough. Make sure that these things are not disrupting lessons!
I’m doing all this: what else can I do?
- Chesskid.com is an excellent free site to learn to play chess.
- Duolingo.com is another free site where students can practise their language skills.
- Go out together for a walk, bike ride or run and send your mileage into us so we can add it to our Mass Marathon around the World challenge.
- Encourage reading for up to 2 hours a day. If you have a reluctant reader on your hands, look into audio books or read together.
- uk.smartickmethod.com, IXL and MathsWatch are all great Mathematics websites. You can never do too much Maths!
- The BBC have a whole series www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize for students in Lockdown. It looks excellent.
- Joe Wicks is doing PE lessons three times a week.
- Oak National Academy are offering many video lessons made by real teachers and used by real schools! Well worth a look.
The remote curriculum: what is taught to students at home
A student’s first day or two of being educated remotely at the beginning of self-isolation or local/national restrictions might look different from our standard approach, while we take all necessary actions to prepare for a longer period of remote teaching.
Note that full details of the school’s curriculum are available on our website for each subject and year group. If the content of the remote curriculum is different this will be made clear by subject teachers.
What should students expect from immediate remote education in the first day or two of being sent home?
In the event of a local or national restriction which means school is not operational students will be expected to follow their normal school timetable. Tasks will be set on Show My Homework with links to other software, as appropriate. Some live lessons will be available on Microsoft Teams depending on appropriateness and capacity within the school. This may vary over time; we will generally prioritise those students in exam year groups; Mathematics and English will also be prioritised in all year groups.
If your son/daughter has been sent home to isolate while school is operational, he/she should follow the normal school timetable. Lessons should be accessed via Microsoft Teams. Students will complete the same tasks as other students and will be able to interact with their teacher. If their normal teacher is not available tasks will be set for students to access with instructions for how work should be submitted where applicable.
Our intention is for remote learning to be available from the first day, although it may on occasion take a second day to be fully up and running.
Following the first few days of remote education, will students be taught broadly the same curriculum as if they were school?
As far as practicable, students will receive the same curriculum as would be the case in school. Tasks in practical subjects such as Art, Design and Technology, Drama, Food, Music, PE and Science will be adapted when necessary for home schooling.
Remote teaching and study time each day
How long can I expect work set by the school to take each day?
We expect that remote education (including remote teaching and independent work) will take students broadly the following number of hours each day:
Secondary school-aged students not working towards formal qualifications this year
At least 5 hours per day including homework demands.
Secondary school-aged students working towards formal qualifications this year
At least 6 hours per day including homework demands.
Accessing remote education
How will students access any online remote education?
We will use Microsoft Teams for Live Lessons. Every student has been trained in school to log in and we have run trial sessions for all students in all year groups before Christmas. It is possible to get support if you need it from our office: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will use Show My Homework for communication regarding lessons. This app (which is familiar to everyone) will be used every day for students to see which lessons they have and to receive feedback. Students can also use it to contact their teachers in addition to the website portal here: www.becketkeys.org/contact.php
We also use You Tube for recorded lessons, the school VLE for saving resources that are used for lessons (www.becketkeys.org/vle.html), various subject specific websites such as MathsWatch and Active Learn. If you have any issues using these tools please contact us: email@example.com.
Tutor time is taking place every day for every student and this is available on Microsoft Teams. This is an important time for a daily check on learning, provide support for well-being and to offer a time of daily worship and prayer.
Staff are increasingly using Microsoft Teams for more and more creative ways to teach. This can include handing in work and giving feedback. Please speak to your son/daughter about what feedback they are receiving.
Lessons should be accessed using a device suitable for the task. The same applies to completing work. In most cases this will be a laptop or PC, however, other devices are also very suitable. We have sent home guidance about using X-box and PlayStation machines. Many students use phones and iPads very successfully. Students should also be in a location where they are able to concentrate.
If we do not have digital or online access at home, how will you support us to access remote education?
We recognise that some students may not have suitable online access at home. We take the following approaches to support those students to access remote education:
- We will lend suitable devices to students who do not have access to one which can be for their sole use during the school day.
- We have a limited number of devices which enable a suitable internet connection which can also be lent to students. Students require access to a connection which means they are able to fully engage in lessons which have video input, whether live or recorded, throughout the school day.
- We have a limited number of Data SIM cards which can provide 4G access. There are some mobile phone companies who are offering free data top ups for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Please contact us if you think you would qualify for this. More details are here: https://get-help-with-tech.education.gov.uk/about-increasing-mobile-data
- In general, we will avoid printing materials, or receiving hard copies of work, as both the remote curriculum and the facility to submit work are available electronically whether students are in school or at home.
- If you do not have access to a suitable internet connection, and we have run out of devices which enable one, students may be classed as ‘vulnerable’ and may be able to attend school. Please contact the school, if this is the case.
You should contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org for further information. Alternatively, please call us on 01277 286600.
How will students be taught remotely?
We use a combination of the following approaches to teach students remotely:
The range of approaches we will use to teach students remotely are
- Live lessons
- Recorded lessons
- Activities set during lessons, or to cover a series of lessons or for homework, some of which require access to websites.
Each student will receive a blended approach, the nature of which is likely to vary from day to day. However, Show My Homework will communicate on a daily basis which lessons students have and what they need to do.
Engagement and feedback
What are your expectations for student engagement and the support that we as parents and carers should provide at home?
Our expectations are that parents ensure:
- students follow their normal timetable and attend on time.
- students engage fully with all activities which are set.
- they read and engage with all communications which come from the school, including from their subject teachers and form tutor.
- they contact the school if they have concerns or issues.
If you wish to contact the school about a curriculum issue you should contact the class teacher via: www.becketkeys.org/contact.php. Heads of department can also be contacted this way, but the first port of call should be the class teacher.
If you wish to contact the school about a pastoral issue you should contact your son/daughter’s form teacher via: www.becketkeys.org/contact.php. You can also contact the Head of Year via this portal, but the form tutor should be the first port of call.
If you are not sure whom to contact, you can write to email@example.com and one of our administration team will direct your message to the right person. Please be aware that this could slow down the process as our office team are stretched at the moment.
Periodically, the school will contact you to complete a survey to gain your overall feedback. At any time, you can report your views to OfSTED via the ParentView portal. We are very grateful to all the parents who have taken the time to tell OfSTED how pleased they are with our provision. Thank you! www.parentview.ofsted.gov.uk
How will you check whether my son/daughter is engaging with work and how will I be informed if there are concerns?
We will do this in various ways:
- taking a register for each live lesson, every day.
- monitoring and marking work submitted by students as appropriate. In general work will be marked within 5 working days, and often sooner.
- subject teachers will contact you via email or telephone if there are issues with the completion or the quality of work. Remember that teachers may be working from home and may therefore withhold their number when calling.
- the school will contact you on the day (certainly within 24 hours) if there is a serious issue with engagement or attendance.
- feedback will be given on Show My Homework on a regular basis which will give you a good sense of general progress.
- the school will also send home reports to give a grade for conduct, character and effort.
How will you assess work and progress?
Feedback can take many forms and may not always mean extensive written comments for individual students. For example, quizzes marked automatically via digital platforms are excellent and highly effective. Sometimes feedback will be given to a whole class or to groups within the class as students outcomes may be similar. If you have the Show My Homework app on your phone, you will be notified when your son/daughter receives feedback or makes a comment to a teacher.
Our approach to feeding back on student work is as follows:
- Where a teacher is presenting a live lesson, students are able to receive immediate verbal feedback on learning and tasks.
- Some tasks will be marked, and feedback given as appropriate. Through this, students will receive feedback on their work for several subjects every week.
- Some tasks, such as online quizzes, are marked automatically and the outcomes available instantly.
- Feedback will be given to individual students, or via the whole class, as appropriate depending on the task.
- Heads of department check the feedback that is provided by staff on a weekly basis to ensure that it is of sufficient quality to help students progress and to retain good levels of engagement.
Additional support for students with particular needs
How will you work with students who need additional support from adults at home to access remote education?
We recognise that some students, for example some students 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 students in the following ways:
- subject teachers will adapt the curriculum, including resources and tasks as appropriate, as would be the case in school.
- subject teachers will also liaise with the SEND department for advice and guidance as necessary, also as would be the case in school.
- our SEN department will be making regular telephone contact with home, staff will produce differentiated materials, and they will advise teachers on methods that are proven to help students with SEN (particularly those with EHCPs).
Remote education for self-isolating students
Where individual students 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 students both at home and in school.
For Years 10, 11, 12 and 13 all lessons will be live on Microsoft Teams. Students will be able to watch and engage in the lesson that is being taught in school.
For students in younger years some lessons will be live on Microsoft Teams and students should check each day to see which ones are available. Where there is not a live lesson, they will be able to access lesson materials via the VLE (www.becketkeys.org/vle.html).
*Thanks to Katharine Birbalsingh for her article which inspired much of this advice. Find the article here: https://www.thearticle.com/online-lessons-for-parents-an-open-letter-from-a-headmistress?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=dlvr.it