Learning at home, views so far wanted
"Go back to school so my dad can do his proper job", wishes a pupil in our learning at home survey. A few parents suggest others are feeling the pressure of children learning at home too. Others tell us it's about right while some want harder work.
School is safe and first-best for pupils, parents and teachers. I do not want school to be closed to most pupils but understand the national need. We understand the pressure on working parents juggling learning at home with demanding jobs.
Help us to make tweaks to learning at home by completing our short survey, posted in class teams on Microsoft Teams this morning.
We will make improvements where we can. We are talking to teachers about emerging strengths and things to improve based on our view. Pupil and parent views will help us. However, we must work to government rules.
This national lockdown is different compared to the lockdown in March because the government has increased expectations on schools, including adding legal requirements on us to ensure pupils receive high quality remote education.
The government expects schools to:
- have a digital platform, such as G-Suite or Microsoft Education. We are using Microsoft Education, including Teams.
- provide at least some of our remote learning by video lessons – school-led videos or other providers by Oak National Academy. We are doing both.
- provide at least 3 hours of learning a day, across curriculum subjects. We might be doing a bit too much in some age groups. We are looking at this in more detail. The government announced an increase to 4 hours a day for pupils in years 3,4,5 & 6 today.
- set work that is meaningful and ambitious in a number of different subjects. Every subject matters. English and maths are priorities at primary age.
- check that pupils are doing the work, at least weekly, and tell parents as soon as we have a concern. We have made telephone calls already this week if we have not seen your child on Teams.
- gauge how well pupils are progressing and give feedback to pupils. This is one of the most important parts of excellent teaching. It's why we have small group video calls through the day. Teachers check pupils' work before their group call.
We have provided 26 laptops, our full allocation from government, to disadvantaged households to enable those most in need to learn at home. There is no extra money from government for us to help any other families at home access devices.
During the last lockdown, some of Fielding’s parents were very critical of the school’s approach, highlighting lack of ambition, low expectations and being abandoned by teachers. Pupils told us they missed their teachers most. Our new approach meets all of the government’s expectations and tackles previous complaints.
Our curriculum is carefully crafted. Learning and knowledge grow day-by-day, week-by-week, term-to-term and year-on -year. Content now is important for next term and next year. Subjects are linked. English (including phonics, reading and writing) and maths are priorities in the primary curriculum. Knowledge and vocabulary from other curriculum subjects are just as important. This means learning at home includes more English and maths, along with French, music, PE and at least one other subject from our Learning Challenge curriculum.
We cannot let this generation of children miss out on their education and we must meet government’s expectations and legal requirements.
It is for families to provide access at home to remote education, to manage your own competing priorities and organise your time around our offer. No matter what we do, we are unlikely to be able to meet the individual preferences, competing needs and pressures of every family. We are putting children’s education first.
Meanwhile, please do the best you can so that your child does not miss out.