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.
Our Remote Learning Policy can be read here:
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 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 eg. aspects of sex education in PSHE.
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?
Teachers are asked to set roughly the equivalent amount of work each week to what students would normally do in school. So, for example, students have five, 45-minute English lessons a week, so you should expect about three hours of English work per week. However, students work at different rates and tasks can take more or less time than the teacher anticipated, so this is only a rough estimate. 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 pupils 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. Teachers don’t expect all students to finish all the work they’re set. If you’re in any doubt, then have a chat with your child’s form teacher or subject teacher.
Should I put a proper timetable together?
It’s best not to be too rigid about things, but a routine of some sort is a good idea. A clear outline of the day will definitely benefit students with ASC eg. “We’ll do maths first, then have a break, then do English and then watch the science video”. You might want to get work out of the way in the morning or you might prefer to split work between morning and afternoon with a decent break in-between. Older children, who can work more independently, might prefer a lie-in and to work later in the day. Have a chat with your child and decide between you what works best for your family. If you are making a timetable don’t forget to build in breaks, exercise and rewards.
Should my child expect work for all subjects?
No, some topics within subjects like PE, PSHE or drama, don’t always lend themselves to home learning activities.
How will my child be taught remotely?
We use a combination of the following approaches to teach students remotely:
- recorded teaching (e.g. Oak National Academy lessons, video/audio recordings made by teachers, BBC programmes)
- printed paper packs produced by teachers (e.g. workbooks, worksheets, exam papers)
- textbooks and reading books that students have at home
- commercially available websites supporting the teaching of specific subjects or areas, including video clips or sequences eg. My Maths
- practical tasks eg. a recipe may be given for food technology
- long-term project work and/or internet research activities
How will my child access remote learning? How will work be set?
All work will be set via Show My Homework which can be accessed from the school website (www.castlehill.stockport.sch.uk): click on the 'Quick links' tab to the left of the homepage and you’ll find a link to Show My Homework. You'll then need your log-in details. If you forget these, let your child's form teacher know. It's easier for most students to access Show My Homework from their parent’s log-in. Show My Homework allows teachers to send instructions about what has to be done, how long tasks should take, deadlines etc and to attach worksheets, powerpoint presentations, links to videos, useful websites etc.
Why are you using Show My Homework when it would be easier just to send packs of work home?
Show My Homework is the most convenient and efficient way for teachers to set work. Sending packs of work home was not possible during last year’s lockdown because staff were working from home too, but we are able to do so now. Let your child’s form teacher know if this works better for you.
How am I expected to print all these worksheets we get on Show My Homework?
Hopefully you’ll get lots of tasks which aren’t worksheet based, but it’s inevitable that some will be. The good news is that you don’t have to print everything off. If it’s a Word document, then it can be completed electronically and saved. Alternatively, students could just write the answers down in a notebook. We can also post paper copies of worksheets home if that’s easier for you, just let your child’s form teacher know.
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. 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 your child’s form teacher know, as we have limited number of laptops which we can loan out.
Why aren’t teachers doing video lessons?
After last year’s lockdown we looked into the option of using live video software, such as Zoom, to deliver lessons but have decided against it for a number of reasons:
- From a safeguarding point of view we feel that there are too many risks.
- Video lessons would require students to have access to a computer/tablet at specific times of day, which would be difficult to coordinate with a class of students.
- Not all students have access to computers, tablets and the software required.
- Evidence shows that students with SEND struggle to engage with video lessons which require long periods of concentration and passive learning ie. students being ‘talked at’.
We do appreciate that it can be difficult to engage students in home learning tasks and we encourage staff to include audio on their powerpoint presentations and possibly produce short ‘keeping in touch’ video clips for their form groups (however this is more difficult to do when school is fully open and teachers have a full timetable to teach in school whilst having to set remote learning activities).
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:
- via Show My Homework.
- 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 did all their maths on Monday morning, can you send some more please?
Teachers are asked to set enough work for the week and it’s best if students spread this over the week. However, there’s nothing to stop them doing all the work in one morning, but if they choose to do this, teachers won’t routinely set additional work.
My child has completed all of the work set. What can they do now?
The ‘Covid Information’ page of the school website (in the ‘Parents’ section) contains a list of resources that might be useful. There are also subject specific suggestions on the ‘Home Learning’ page of the website in the ‘Students’ section.
An excellent resource that has been produced specifically for lockdown is BBC Bitesize daily lessons https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize. 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 lifeskills (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.
- Connecting parents/carers with other professionals who will be able to offer support eg. sensory support service, speech and language team, occupational therapists
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 Policy gives more information and can be found on the school website, in the ‘Information’ section under ‘Policies’. 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.