11 February 2021
As promised, I am writing to you following the results of the recent Parent’s Survey on Remote Learning by the Trust.
Overall results from the Survey showed that over 90% of parents felt the online work was well organised. 92% said it was easy to access, and 85% stated it is of a good standard. 78% were confident our remote teaching was supporting their children to learn at home and the majority of parents felt that remote learning had improved since the previous lockdown. 69% of parents felt the amount of work set was adequate, while the majority of the remaining responses (24%) felt there was too much learning provided- I will address this concern later.
Supporting me and my child to learn at home
78% agreed remote learning was helping their children to learn at home – some parents whose children are attending school responded ‘don’t know’ as they are not accessing the learning with their children so were not able to comment. Of those that ‘disagreed’ with this statement, some parents felt that they would prefer live lessons.
As previously mentioned, some parents wanted to see live lessons on platforms such as Zoom. The Trust learning platform is Google and our academy system does not support Zoom, which is why we use Google Classroom for teaching and learning and Google Meets for live social interaction with children.
Conversely, other parents felt that live lessons would not be manageable, as they are sharing their own device with their child or are not able to support their children with their learning until later in the day or at weekends once they have completed their own work. By pre-recording lessons, we are able to leave them on the Classroom so they remain accessible at any time.
Our engagement record shows that children log on at different points throughout the day and, as we have seen in the informal Google Meet sessions, young children can struggle with the behavior necessary for a successful ‘live meet’. We feel it is far better to record live video sessions of the teacher input, which allows pupils to access the lesson whenever it best suits them and then stop, rewind and repeat the teaching until they are confident they know what to do. Every child learns at a different pace and this allows children to access the learning in their own time, without the pressure of trying to keep up with everyone else.
In time, as our children grow up in this new technical world and become more proficient in using live Google Meets, this may be something we can consider for our older children, but for now we have introduced more ‘live’ interaction with our ‘Daily Drop In Sessions’ in response to this parental request.
Live Daily Drop In Sessions
Year 2 successfully trialled a daily live drop in session every day last week, which initially had a good uptake and this has subsequently been introduced across the school in Years 1 – 5. Since then, engagement this week has dropped slightly across all year groups, perhaps because of the snow days! Please encourage your children to join these sessions, which take place at the same time every day, and are an opportunity for your child to ask their teachers questions about the work they have been set or perhaps just share their thoughts or ideas with their teacher and their classmates.
In Year R, after half term, we will be moving to three live sessions each week including stories and time for chats. So far only 16 children have expressed interest in joining these sessions across both classes. Please sign up on Tapestry if your Year R child would like to join in.
The survey showed that 69% of parents felt the quantity of work provided was adequate, with 24% suggesting it was too much and only 7.4% reporting it was too little.
The Government has recently set expectations for schools to provide remote learning, this states:
“The remote education provided should be equivalent in length to the core teaching pupils would receive in school and will include both recorded or live direct teaching time, and time for pupils to complete tasks and assignments independently. The amount of remote education provided should be, as a minimum:
Key Stage 1: 3 hours a day on average across the cohort
Key Stage 2: 4 hours a day”
I would remind parents that all children learn at a different pace and sometimes work that takes one child twenty minutes to complete can take another child an hour, making it difficult for teachers to set work that will take all children this specified amount of time.
Some parents commented that they were finding it difficult to support their children in completing all the tasks set everyday. Children struggling should aim to complete at least one piece of Maths and English with an optional extra activity each day. Children who find the work set is too little can extend their learning by responding to teacher comments to improve work and by completing all their assignments each day. Sometimes if the work is finished too quickly, it could be that it is being submitted without a child’s best effort. The class teacher knows your child’s ability and will respond appropriately if this is the case, directing them to look again at their work and make improvements, as they would in class.
61% of parents agreed our remote learning had improved since the last lockdown; the majority of remaining responses (26%) were new to the school either in Reception or other year groups and replied ‘don’t know’ to this question as they were unable to make a comparison.
As a school, we are continually working to improve our own skills in teaching and delivering remote learning – our IT Lead is always looking for new ways to improve individual feedback and teaching and is trialling this at the moment. All of our teachers have all been trained and assessed as Level 1 Google Educators and our teaching assistants have been upskilled in the use of the Google Classroom, so they are able to help with feedback and responding to requests for help with assignments or differentiating tasks. We have introduced teaching videos before every assignment, explaining exactly how to complete the task and daily live ‘drop ins’ to address any questions or misconceptions in learning. The use of shared screens as a teaching tool and voice overs, as well as interactive whiteboards are all making access to remote learning easier for children who are engaging.
Finally, I want to acknowledge the difficulties of parents working from home whilst at the same time supporting home learning. Teachers really do appreciate how stressful this can be for parents; our teachers and teaching assistants too are juggling between managing their own children’s learning, family life – with all the challenges that brings in the current climate – and providing good quality remote learning for our COPA community. Please don’t feel that you are alone.
It is for this reason that we record our lessons, so that they are accessible at the most convenient time for you and your family and why we keep our registration open until 6pm every evening to allow children to engage or work to be loaded up in the evening. Some parents have valued the facility of being able to catch up with missed work, if there has been a particularly stressful time at home, whilst we appreciate others, due to their own working arrangements, would find it difficult to access live lessons at set times.
Teachers understand that it is tricky to upload the work by the end of the school day and check the following day to see who has registered and handed in work the day before. Our engagement register is completed retrospectively for the previous day, so that we can track which children have registered and completed the tasks set. Engagement levels will help teachers to assess how well the children have progressed during school closure.
I think we can all acknowledge it has been a long and very difficult year for our pupils, parents and teaching staff; hopefully that dim light at the end of the tunnel is shining a bit brighter as we look forward to welcoming our children back into their physical classrooms later in March, instead of their virtual ones.
I would like to thank all our parents for your kind words of support and encouragement throughout this term – have a safe and enjoyable half term break!
Mrs. J. Forsythe