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Brandles School

Part of Larwood Academy Trust

Remote Learning

Remote Learning

Our remote learning plan has been put in place to support students who are forced to work from home due a range of Covid-related circumstances. It will however be of use in post-Covid situations, such as snow days or prolonged absence due to a medical condition.

Remote Learning: Frequently Asked Questions

 When will remote learning be used?

  • We will put our remote learning plan in place when:
  • National or local restrictions require the whole school population to remain at home.
  • An entire year group bubble is asked to remain at home for a set number of days, due to a confirmed case of Covid in that bubble.
  • School is fully open, but a significant number of parents have chosen to keep their children at home due to concerns over the prevalence of Covid in the community and this absence has been authorised by the local authority.
  • A student has been advised by their GP, or medical team, to shield at home because they are extremely clinically vulnerable.
  • A student is self-isolating at home because they, or a close contact, has tested positive for Covid. (Obviously, we would not expect a student to engage in remote learning if they are too ill to do so.)

What should my child expect during the first day or two of students being sent home?

The first day or two of being educated remotely might look different from our standard approach, while teachers prepare activities and resources for a longer period of remote teaching. This may include, for example, sending students home with work packs to complete independently in the first instance.

Following the first few days of remote education, will my child be taught the same curriculum as they would if they were in school?

Wherever possible we will teach the same curriculum remotely as we do in school. However, this will not always be possible in practical subjects, such as food technology, science and construction. Certain subjects also cover sensitive topics which it wouldn’t be appropriate for students to study remotely e.g. aspects of sex education in wellbeing.

In situations where school is fully open but individual students need to stay at home, or parents have chosen to keep them at home, the way in which remote learning is delivered will differ from the approach used for whole groups. This is due to the challenge for teachers of providing remote learning whilst teaching a full timetable in school.

How much work should my child be doing each day?

Students are normally in school for about 6 hours a day, but we definitely aren’t expecting them to be working at home for that length of time. It would also be unrealistic to expect many of our pupils to complete the same volume of work as mainstream students of the same age. We consider 3-4 hours work per day to be very good. Half an hour of fully engaged, quality learning is better than 4 hours of arguing and sulking that will make the rest of the day miserable for everyone. If you’re in any doubt, then have a chat with your child’s form teacher or subject teacher.

Should my child expect work for all subjects?

No, some topics within subjects like don’t always lend themselves to home learning activities.

 How will my child be taught remotely?

We will deploy a variety of methods to ensure all pupils can access some form of education. These methods will be routinely reviewed, updated and refined where necessary:

  • Live lessons via Teams
  • Digital curriculum activities posted via Teams Assignments
  • Paper based curriculum activities delivered to homes.
  • A ‘5-a-day’ set of 30 parent-led activities for pupils sent to homes for pupils who are unable to access/engage with remote or paper based curriculum learning.
  • ‘Catch-all’ activities for Brandles’ pupils will be posted on the website and updated when teaching staff receive completed work

How will my child access remote learning? How will work be set?

We are providing a flexible approach to remote learning. We will offer a variety of weekly learning activities across the curriculum so that pupils can work their way through as much as they are able, at a time that suits them. 

Remote Learning timetables will be sent to families via email and/or letter. They will also be posted on each school’s website. Pupils will be able to view their live lessons using the Microsoft Teams Calendar. 

A separate document on how to access will Microsoft Teams will be sent out to all families and posted on the school’s website. 

We’ve only got one computer at home and all the family want to use it.

We appreciate that this can be a problem and have asked teachers to set some tasks which don’t need a computer or tablet. These can be found in the ‘Covid’ section of the website.  

Another option is for brothers and sisters, who go to different schools, to work together on tasks, as supporting a sibling with their schoolwork is a great way of reinforcing their own learning.

If computer access is a real problem then please let us know.

If your child is missing social contact with their peers, then you could liaise with other parents and set up virtual meets with friends via Zoom etc.

What should I do with work once my child has completed it?

Work can be submitted in the following ways:

  • By Teams, using the Assignments ‘Hand-In’ tool.
  • By email, staff email addresses can be found on the school website under the ‘Staff’ section look for ‘Staff List’.
  • For practical tasks or a piece of handwritten work you could take a photo of the work and email this to school.
  • For some straightforward tasks you could mark your child’s work yourself and then send the teacher a message telling them how they got on. This is great way of giving your child instant feedback and showing that you value what they’ve done.

 My child won’t do the work and we end up arguing about it

Try to set realistic goals for the quantity of work you expect your child to complete each day. It might help to get their least favourite subject out of the way first or negotiate the order in which they’re going to do work. If your child struggles to concentrate, then have frequent breaks or swap to another activity or lesson and come back to the original task later. It might also help to build rewards into your day.

My child has completed all of the work set. What can they do now?

An excellent resource that has been produced specifically for lockdown is BBC Bitesize daily lessons These lessons are grouped by year group but you don’t have to stick to this, it might be appropriate to take a look at lessons in year groups below your child’s actual age. BBC2 is also broadcasting programmes for secondary students every weekday afternoon and CBBC is doing the same for primary age students every morning. Don’t pay too much attention to the secondary/primary label, many of the primary programmes are suitable for key stage 3 students.

You could also ask your child to help with everyday jobs around the house; tasks such as baking, writing shopping lists, sorting laundry and gardening all use numeracy and literacy skills as well as developing vital life skills (and it might give you a bit of a break too!).

Don’t forget reading, if your child does nothing else try to get them to read for at least 20 minutes a day.

I emailed a teacher about a piece of work, but they took a day to get back to me.

Depending upon the reason for remote learning, teachers will either be working from home, and in many cases organising their own childcare, or, if school is open, teaching their normal lessons in school, so please be patient. They will reply, but it might not be until the end of the day.

My child struggles to do any work at home without my support.

We recognise that many of our students 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:

  • Providing differentiated tasks ie. work will be pitched at an appropriate level for each child’s ability
  • Providing a range of different types of activities and resources eg. practical, hands-on tasks, educational games etc
  • Providing specific guidance to parents/carers on the best strategies to use to support their child.

My child is in Year 11 and is saying there’s no point in doing any work because exams are cancelled.

Although the Government have announced that there won’t be any formal GCSE exams this summer, teachers will be asked to submit ‘working at' grades and provide evidence to back up these grades. This evidence is likely to be in the form of mock exams, classwork and coursework. So, in actual fact our Year 11 have more reason than most to engage fully with remote learning, as the work they produce may be used as evidence for their GCSE, BTEC and FS courses. Try to explain this to your child and reassure them that if they work to their full potential, they will get the grade they deserve. If they still don’t ‘get it’ let school know and we can ask their subject teachers to give them a motivational call.

I see people on Facebook doing amazing projects with their children and it just makes me feel useless; I’m worried that my child is going to return to school knowing nothing.

This is a stressful time and you’re probably having to balance remote learning with caring for elderly relatives, work worries and being stuck indoors all day, not to mention the anxiety of Covid itself. Keeping children interested and motivated, day in and day out isn’t easy; if it was, we wouldn’t need teachers! The most valuable thing that you can do for your child is to show them that you’re interested and give them as much support as you can. But there will be days when they’re just not interested and nothing seems to work. If you’re having one of those days, it’s ok to just pack it in and start afresh the next day. Call it an INSET Day!!! You can bet that the Facebook ‘experts’ have bad days too, they just don’t post about those days!

In terms of being concerned that your child is not making enough progress and will fall behind when back at school, don’t worry. When they start back, we’ll soon plug any gaps in learning. Children are remarkably resilient and will quickly catch up and get back on track. We certainly found this to be the case when we returned in September after last year’s national lockdown.

I’ve still got questions I’d like to ask about remote learning.

Our ‘Remote Learning Guidance for Parents’ document gives more information and can be found on the school website, in the ‘Parents’ section. Before looking at this though, you might want to have a chat with your child’s form teacher, as they should be able to answer most questions.