Remote Education at St Edward’s

By definition, every pupil at St Edward’s is a vulnerable child, as they have an Education, Health & Care Plan (EHCP). The school maintains that where possible, pupils should remain at home if it is safe for them to do so, until such times as national restrictions begin to ease and schools reopen.

From Thursday 7th January 2021, we began to readmit pupils whose parents considered them to be safer in school than they are at home. Currently, we have 36 pupils in attendance, which represents 68% of our nominal roll. We are operating a 4 day week – Monday to Thursday, with a staggered return on a Monday to allow every pupil to self-administer a lateral flow test, to identify asymptomatic carriers of the Covid-19 virus. In accordance with current guidance, staff are now tested twice weekly. 

For the remaining 32% of pupils and for every pupil on a Friday, remote teaching and learning is provided. For clarity and transparency as to what said provision constitutes, please read the following information.

The remote curriculum: what is taught to pupils at home?

  • We teach the same curriculum remotely as we do in school wherever possible and appropriate. However, we have needed to make some adaptations in some subjects. For example, in Design Technology pupils are asked to evaluate recent projects, embark on design tasks that may materialise when they have access to the workshop, or to use objects around the house to make small projects. In Physical Education, pupils will be encouraged to participate in and record individual and whole school fitness challenges, as well as engage in the theory based PE.

How long can I expect work set by the school to take my child each day?

Your son’s wellbeing in the broadest sense is as important to us as his continued academic progress at this time. To that end, whilst our teachers are tasked with setting the ‘timetabled’ amount of work each week, we would recommend following a daily routine, not dissimilar to the example below.

Before 9.00amWake upMake your bed, eat breakfast, clean your teeth, get dressed, put PJ’s in laundry.
9.00am  – 10.00amMorning walkFamily walk with the dog etc. Exercises/Indoor sensory circuit. Joe Wicks on YouTube. Check the PE SharePoint.
10.00am – 11.00amAcademic timeNO ELECTRONICS. Booster reading, check your emails and teacher SharePoint pages for weekly updates.
11.00am – 12.00pmCreative timeExplore the Therapeutic Services SharePoint for creative ideas, including their daily ideas page! Lego, drawing, painting, crafting, play music, dance, cook or bake, drama games etc.
12.00pm – 12.30pmLunch 
12.30pm – 1:00pmChore time ‘We’re all in this together’A – wipe kitchen surfaces, table and chairs. B – wipe all door handles, light switches, and desk tops. C – wipe down bathrooms, sinks and toilets.
1.00pm – 2.30pmQuiet timeReading, puzzles, nap, board games, cards.
2.30pm – 4.00pmAcademic timeELECTRONICS OK. ICT SharePoint – typing.com, BBC Bitesize, First News, MyMaths and SharePoints.
4.00pm – 5.00pmAfternoon fresh airBikes, walk the dog, play outside.
5.00pm – 6.00pmDinner 
6.00pm – 8.00pmFree timeTV programmes, games consoles, phone friends and relatives.
8.00pmBedtimeAll kids.
9.00pmBedtimeAll kids who followed the daily schedule and have been, respectful, kind and working as a team.

How will my child access any online remote education you are providing?

Every pupil has been provided with a Microsoft 365 account. This gives him access to his own Outlook email account that can be used as a direct line of communication to his teachers, as well as for submitting completed work. Another application within Microsoft 365 is SharePoint. Each department has their own SharePoint page, which is their platform for setting work. Each page will have a tab for your son’s class and within that, a folder for the week in question which will contain the latest work set. In addition to classwork, there is also access to SharePoints for the Library and Therapeutic Services (‘Think Well, Feel Well’) that is an excellent resource to allay anxieties in relation to the pandemic and the 5 associated losses of routine, structure, friendships, opportunity and freedom. Please use the link below to our video tutorial for remote learning.

Pupils will be directed towards other online learning platforms through the SharePoint pages, including BBC Bitesize, Accelerated Reader, First News and My Maths.

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. To support those pupils to access remote education, our Pastoral Care Team canvassed every parent/carer to ascertain whether they had an internet connection and a computer for their son to work from. In every instance, where a pupil was either without the requisite hardware, or was sharing with a sibling, our Systems Administrator configured a school laptop and it was hand delivered to the pupil’s home. Where possible and for those eligible, we have ensured that their local authority have bought them brand new laptops. If we are unable to provide assistance in respect of connectivity, we will ensure that curriculum packs are sent via post with stamp-addressed envelopes to return completed work.

We are committed to ensure that every pupil at St Edward’s has access to remote learning until it is safe for him to return to school.

How will my child be taught remotely?

We use a combination of the following approaches to teach pupils remotely:

  • Microsoft 365 applications
  • Outlook (email)
  • SharePoint
  • Teams
  • Commercially available websites supporting the teaching of specific subjects or areas, including video clips or sequences
  • Live teaching (online 1:1 lessons) using Microsoft Teams where a pupil needs an additional level of academic support in order to engage in the curriculum
  • Reading books have been sent home by our Librarian
  • Recorded teaching (audio recordings to narrate PowerPoint presentations)
  • Long term project work and/or internet research activities (avoiding an over-reliance on this approach)

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

Our hope, rather than our expectation, is that your son engages to some degree in his remote learning. In doing so, our hope is that he feels that his attachment to the school and his claim on our community remains strong; that he can continue to develop a positive perception of himself as a learner; that his engagement helps build some degree of routine and familiarity into his day; and that all of these factors contribute to an improvement in his wellbeing in the face of current adversities.

Our expectation of parental support is that you find the time to encourage your son to engage in his remote learning, support him through the work where possible and offer him praise for doing so.

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

Your son will be in receipt of regular calls from across the staff team. On a Monday, his keyworker on the Pastoral Care Team will make a welfare call. If your son is currently in receipt of therapeutic interventions at school, he will also be called on a Wednesday. The call to specifically discuss engagement in remote learning will be made by a member of the Education team on a Friday and will present the opportunity to discuss completed work, troubleshoot and target set. Teachers will be available at all times via their @melchetcourt.onmicrosoft.com email accounts, which the pupils have access to.

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

Pupils’ work will be marked and returned to them promptly via email, with summative and formative commentary. Some online learning platforms such as Accelerated Reader gives the pupil a quiz at the end of their book, assesses their progress against their Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) and sets new reading levels and targets accordingly. First News allows the teacher to mark typed responses to reading comprehension exercises online and then differentiate the resources and degree of challenge for each individual pupil, whereas MyMaths provides automated marking and adjusts targets immediately. Feedback and support will also be provided via email and during their Education phone call.