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Studying At The Spires College

Remote Learning

There are two reasons why students may need to access learning from home:

  1. If national or local restrictions require entire cohorts (or bubbles) to remain at home
  1. If an individual student needs to self-isolate but the majority of their peer group remains in college

Our approach will be different depending on the reason that students need to access learning remotely.

What to expect if national or local restrictions require entire cohorts (or bubbles) to remain at home

The remote curriculum: what is taught to pupils at home

If there are periods of unexpected or unplanned school closure, students’ first day or two of being educated remotely might look different from our standard approach, while we ensure all students have access to the technology required to access our remote curriculum.

Q. What should my child expect from remote education in the first day or two of students being sent home?

A. Lessons will be taught on-line from the start of any full closure but it may take a day or two to lend out equipment. We have asked parents and carers to tell us about the technology available to each child at home, including whether devices are appropriate for fully accessing lessons, broadband capability and the level of demand on any shared devices. This information allows us to provide equipment quickly should students be required to work from home. If you have not completed the form to tell us what access to technology your child has, please do so immediately so that your child can be equipped for online learning with minimal delay.

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

A. We teach the same curriculum remotely as we do in college. Students will follow their usual timetable and should move between Google Classrooms just as they would move between physical classrooms if they were in school.


Remote teaching and study time each day

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

A. We expect that remote teaching will take pupils the following number of hours each day:

Key Stages 3 and 4Five, one-hour periods of live teaching. In order to reduce the impact of screen time, we will seek to provide screen-free homework tasks where possible.

Key Stage 5: A full programme of live teaching in line with each student’s study programme.


Accessing remote education

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

A. Google Classroom is the platform we use to set assignments and provide resources.

Google Meet is the platform we use to deliver ‘live’ lessons. Google Meets can be accessed via a link in each Google Classroom.

A guide to accessing remote learning has been shared with all students and parents/carers and is also available at the bottom of this page.

Q. If my child does not have digital or online access at home, how will you support them to access remote education?

A. We recognise that some pupils may not have suitable online access at home. We aim to lend equipment to every student without suitable online access at home. This includes laptops and routers. If you need support with this, please contact your child’s Pastoral Support Manager in the first instance. Students and parents will be asked to sign a usage agreement prior to the loaning of any equipment and the college’s Acceptable Use Policy also applies to home learning.

Q. How will my child be taught remotely?

A. The vast majority of lessons are taught ‘live’ through Google Meet although some pre-recorded teaching may be used where appropriate. We also make use of commercially available websites supporting the teaching of specific subjects or areas, including video clips or sequences. Occasionally tasks may be set on Google Classroom without live input, for example if a teacher is unwell.


Engagement and feedback

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

A. Students are expected to engage fully with online learning as they would if they were in college. This means attending registration every morning, following carefully in the tutor reading programme, and attending every lesson in line with their timetable. They will have break and lunch break at the usual times. Engagement in lessons means participating in the lesson fully by joining in with any class discussion, either with a microphone or with the written ‘chat’ function, and by completing each task set. Parents can support this by maintaining a morning routine as on any other school morning to ensure students make a punctual start each day. Finding a space for your child to work where they can avoid interruption and set out their learning resources is helpful.

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

A. Tutors and teachers will register students in registration and in every lesson, just as if they were in school. Pastoral Support Managers monitor these registers daily. If a student is missing lessons, the Pastoral Support Manager or Head of Year will contact parents by telephone to discuss the reasons for this. If students are having technical difficulties, please let us know so we can support you to address these. If students continue to not attend on-line lessons and we cannot make contact by telephone, Pastoral Support Managers and other staff will carry out home visits to the doorstep to check all is well and find out what support is needed. If students appear in a Google Meet lesson but do not engage in any way (i.e., not responding when addressed; not attempting the work) they will be regarded as absent, and the same actions as above will take place.

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

A. Feedback can take many forms and will not always mean extensive written comments for individual children. For example, whole-class feedback or quizzes marked automatically via digital platforms are also valid and effective methods, amongst many others. Feedback will be given as it would in a ‘real’ classroom where possible. This includes verbal feedback during discussions and written feedback on some tasks. Whole class feedback may be given verbally or in writing, where the same feedback is useful to everybody. Google Classroom also allows teachers to use Google Forms or Quizzes to test knowledge. These can be marked automatically but teachers will still check this to ensure the mark scheme has been applied accurately. Some of the websites that students will use also provide automatic marking, particularly in Science and Mathematics. Google Classroom also allows teachers to look at students’ work as they are completing it. This allows for immediate help and feedback. Not every piece of work can or should receive feedback. Feedback will be given when it is useful to support a student’s progress.


Additional support for students with particular needs

Q. How will you work with me to help my child who needs additional support from adults at home to access remote education?

A. We recognise that some children, 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.

As long as schools are permitted to open to children deemed ‘vulnerable’ by the DfE, students whose special educational needs or disabilities prevent them from accessing remote education independently will be offered a place in school. Where this is not possible (for example, due to a student being required to self-isolate), Learning Support Assistants are able to join Google Meet lessons to support students who require this. Our SEND team (SENDCo, specialist teachers and LSAs) will make regular contact by telephone with families to ensure they have all the support they need.

What to expect if individual students need to self-isolate but the majority of their peer group remains in college

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.

Q. If my child is not in school because they are self-isolating, how will their remote education differ from the approaches described above?

A. Students who are required to self-isolate whilst the rest of the cohort are learning in school should continue to access their work via Google Classroom. The difference will be that lessons will not be taught live via Google Meet in most cases because the teacher will be teaching a full class in school. However, teachers will use a combination of videos, pre-recorded instruction and written guidance to teach those students who are required to learn remotely. Some lessons may also lend themselves to the use of a live Google Meet, for example, a teacher may include a live segment as they demonstrate something to the class. The lesson assignment in Google Classroom will contain links to all these resources and will make clear how that lesson should be accessed.