Remote Learning and Contingency Plan
This document is intended for parents, so that parents know what to expect if the school must educate students remotely for any reason. This guidance has been written in line with the Government on-going guidance, the latest being issued in September 2020. It will be updated regularly according to further changes.
Rooks Heath is committed to ensuring that high quality learning continues even when the school is closed to some or many of our students. Whilst the school building may need to be closed at times, to some or all learners, learning itself is never “closed” at Rooks Heath. Remote learning and on-going communication and feedback between teachers, students and parents will be a priority.
How will the school communicate the need for remote learning to parents?
The start of a closure to students will be communicated in several ways:
- A message on this page of the school website.
- A message to parents via InTouch.
- A message to staff and students in school.
What would initiate remote learning for students?
The government, in its guidance, sets out four TIERS which would operate if an outbreak of here Covid- 19 were to hit the local or school community. A link to the guidance can be found here. These are:
At this tier, there are no changes to education and schools remain fully open, but the local area of Harrow or London is likely to have “local restrictions” outside of education. At this tier, the wearing of face coverings would be compulsory in communal areas such as corridors and dining areas. Please note the school at present recommends this, whether tier 1 is in operation or not.
At this tier, secondary schools would be requested by the government to limit the number of students on site at any one time by moving to a rota model. In this circumstance, the school is likely to use a model of “two weeks on and two weeks off” timetables, where students would be on site for two weeks then off site and working remotely for another two weeks.
At this tier, the school would follow what we call our “blending learning model”. This involves our teachers carefully looking at each scheme of learning in every subject and deciding on what material and activities would be best delivered in the classroom and what would be best delivered remotely. Students would be fully informed about what they were doing in each of the two-week periods.
At this stage, we have considered that we would operate with two weeks starting with years 7, 9 and 11 followed by two weeks with years 8, 10 and the 6th form.
Whilst we appreciate that Tier 2 would present some issues for siblings, it would be impossible to arrange for them to be always on the same rota. We would aim for this where we can, but it would not by definition of different ages and circumstances be wholly possible.
In Tier 2, vulnerable students and children of key workers would be able to attend school during their two-week off-site period but would be placed under supervision to carry on with the remote activities in one of our ICT rooms.
At this tier, the Government would be announcing a partial lockdown in certain areas. For secondary schools this would be likely to lead to the prioritising of certain year groups and vulnerable students or students with key worker parents being on site. This could be because a certain year group or more have had to isolate owing to an outbreak in that bubble or because the government have decided nationally that it would be safer for only certain year groups such as Years 11 and 13 to attend.
Under this scenario the prioritised year groups would always be taught on site, as usual with all precautions being taken, and the year groups off site would be set remote work in line with Tier 4 below.
This would be a situation similar to March, when the full national lockdown was first announced, whereby only vulnerable students and children of key workers would be attending on site. All other students would be working under remote conditions. This work would be fully monitored as before with emails and phone calls from tutors and follow up by pastoral and senior staff.
In Tiers 3 and 4, vulnerable students and children of key workers would always be able to attend school but would be placed under supervision to carry on with the remote activities in one of our ICT rooms.
Children who are considered vulnerable and those of key workers will always be allowed to study on site. Where their bubble is timetabled to be on site, they would be integrated with their year group bubble. Where they are to be at home, they would be in a separated bubble.
Remote Learning Expectations
Our Remote Learning and Contingency Plan is designed to be an inclusive plan that recognises technology has a key role but understands that not everyone has access to the Internet or their own laptop or tablet all the time. As a result, we will make 'paper only' resources available to students as appropriate. These will usually be collected by families from reception but will be sent home in cases of families isolating. If you will need paper resources, please ensure you have filled in our questionnaire. (What access to ICT facilities does your child have at home?) We distributed the laptops made available to us by the Government during summer 2020. If you believe you may be eligible for a laptop, please let us know and we will try to help, though we may not be able to do this in every case.
Where possible, students are asked to follow the time and sequence of their usual timetable at home and access their learning resources through Microsoft SharePoint and Teams via the school website. Instructions on how to access remote learning can be found on our website. Following the usual timetable provides a structure to the day for students and helps to ensure an even amount of time is dedicated to each subject as it would be if students were present at school. Teachers will upload all learning activities for the week, at the beginning of each week, to provide some flexibility and choice to students. All tasks for the week should be uploaded by the end of the day on Friday.
Feedback on student work during Remote Learning will be by a combination of comments on Microsoft Teams, including individual and whole class feedback. Teachers cannot comment on every piece of work that is submitted and will identify key pieces of assessment just as they do when students are in school. Students should check back on Microsoft Teams to see their teachers’ comments. Their teachers may well be teaching some sessions to year groups in school, so responses will not be immediate.
Where year groups are learning remotely for an extended period of time, every effort will be made by the school to provide some of the lessons as Live Lessons via Microsoft Teams. This will give students the opportunity to talk to teachers directly and ask and answer questions, which supports progress by moving learning forward.
Contacting home about completion of work:
We monitor students’ use of the learning platforms and completion of activities. Contact will be made with parents by email and/or telephone in order to:
- Recognise the efforts of students who are completely up to date and/or making on-going effort with work set.
- Alert you to pieces of work outstanding and/or lack of effort/engagement with work set.
Our SENDCo and the Learning Support Team continue to support students with their remote learning through regular contact home and, wherever possible, inviting students in to school for additional support. Work continues to be differentiated to meet the needs of individual learners.
Whilst we have high expectations of learners and standards of work, we also realise that remote learning creates specific challenges for some of our learners. We are realistic in our expectations and understand the need to make adjustments where required.
Rooks Heath has a very strong network of pastoral support and this continues through any period of remote learning.
Our Student Support Hub will continue to support learners throughout any lockdown period, by regular contact between families and school and, where necessary, external agencies. Students are able to make contact with staff via emails and chat features in SharePoint, and by ‘phone calls.
Our tutor team will continue to contact home regularly, and will provide the opportunity for students to raise any questions or highlight any concerns they may have.
Our Heads of Year continue to communicate regularly with the tutor team and monitor the year group.
We realise that any time away from school creates challenges, and the last few months has been particularly challenging and disorientating for many. Please see our useful tips, our advice on E-Safety and our FAQ below that may be of use.
Tips for Parents and Students
Establish routines and expectations: start times, breaks and lunch at school are at clear times. Maintaining this routine can help maintain a positive work ethic. Avoid spending the day in your pyjamas!
Identify a clear physical space in which to work: this will make it easier to focus on your learning, without other distractions.
Talk about the plan for the day, and the lessons ahead: spending extended time working at home is unfamiliar territory. Talking about how things are going can help pre-empt any problems.
Set times to be on and offline: There will be more screen time than normal whilst working at home. You may have to share devices with family members, and setting time limits in advance can help manage this successfully. Equally, spending time offline is important to maintain a sense of balance in the day.
Remember to exercise: Your wellbeing is enhanced by physical activity, so do make time for this. The PE team have planned some excellent activities. This can really help if you are feeling anxious, which is completely normal whilst you are working from home.
Talk about things on your mind: it will be a big adjustment working from home every day, and having done it before does not necessarily make it easier. Talk about how things are going. The international and local situation is highly changeable. It is normal to feel uncertainty about this too. Be conscious of how much of the news you watch and talk about what you are watching. There are wellbeing activities in our virtual assemblies, set up on whole year group Google classrooms. Do devote enough time for this.
Read a book: Escape, relax, unwind. Look after yourself. Remember Mr Sharp’s Assembly.
E-Safety: Please discuss e-safety with your child/ren before they return to the remote Learning programme. Lots of resources to help you do this can be found on our website under ‘Safeguarding’.
Where is my child’s work?
All learning activities will be accessible via Microsoft Teams or will be signposted from there. Your child should access Microsoft Teams via SharePoint by clicking the designated icon on the website and login using his/her usual login details (school e-mail address and usual password). S/he will then see each classroom for the subjects they are taught, and the activities will be placed in here. The Microsoft SharePoint and Teams guide is on our website, under ‘Curriculum; Remote Learning’.
My child can’t login to Mircrosoft SharePoint/Teams. What should I do?
We tested Microsoft SharePoint and Teams for all groups in the first two days of term. Year 7s have received lessons during their computer lessons about accessing work on SharePoint and Teams. Try setting your Internet browser to Google Chrome. This can give greater functionality.
Please check that your child is using the correct username and password, their username is the same that they use to log into the computer at school followed by @rooksheath.harrow.sch.uk e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org
They should then use the same password that they use to log into the computer at school.
Please check that they have spelt all log in and password details correctly.
Sometimes it is necessary to clear your cache memory (by going to browser - settings - privacy and security).
If you have more than one child using the same device, please ask them NOT to choose the prompt that allows them to stay logged in, as this will prevent others logging into the system. If they do this by accident, please clear the cache memory as detailed above.
We do know that there can be an issue with Norton 360 antivirus software when logging into some Microsoft Office 365 apps; if you have this software and are experiencing an issue, please contact Norton directly.
If there continues to be an issue please click this Remote Help Desk link.
When will my child’s learning activities be available?
All teachers will be aiming to have lesson activities uploaded and ready for students by Monday morning of each week. We ask students to follow their normal timetable for the week, as far as possible, spending approximately 50 minutes on each activity. Minimum expectation letters were sent home in the Summer term 2020, to give guidance on the amount of time that should be spent on the different activities. These will be reviewed following further closures.
Where should my child complete the learning activity?
This will vary for each subject and each task. Instructions will be in the lesson activities. If they are not sure, they should use their exercise book or complete the work in the same forum in which the activity is set.
My child does not understand what to do. How can they get help?
Microsoft Teams has a chat feature that enables students to contact the teacher who set the work. Students are asked to ensure their messages are in full sentences and of the appropriate tone. Teachers will endeavour to respond to questions as soon as they can. If your child can carry on with another aspect of their learning this will give the teacher time to respond to their query. If a teacher teaches six lessons in a day, some in person and some at a distance, with 30 students in each class, teachers could be interacting with 180 different students a day, each of whom may ask more than one question. This will mean responses are not immediate. Do ask your child to go back and see if they have had a response to their question if they are stuck.
How do I know my child has completed/handed in their work?
Ask students to show you work that they have turned in on their account.
Where students are not handing work in, messages will be sent by teachers.
How do I get in contact with someone if I have a question?
If your enquiry is essential, please don’t hesitate to contact us. If it is not urgent and it can wait until we reopen, this would be even better.
Please contact your child’s Head of Year or Form Tutor in the first instance.
If it is a different urgent enquiry, please email email@example.com or phone the school 020 8422 4675
I have a safeguarding issue that I would usually discuss with school. What can I do?
Our school website has lots of resources and links that might be able to help you: Parent and student Information. Harrow’s Golden Number is 0208 9012690 if you have any concerns to which social services should be alerted.
You may also be able to contact our Student Support Hub, if it is within school hours.
My child usually has external support from a counsellor/therapist/specialist teacher. What happens now?
Contact our SENco (firstname.lastname@example.org) to find out the status of your child’s additional support.
My child has a mentor. Will they have any contact while school is closed?
Yes. Our Student Support Hub will continue to mentor students whilst they are working remotely.
How will SEN support operate now?
We have a Microsoft Teams classroom set up for students to access additional support in our virtual Hub. Our LSAs are members of the Microsoft Teams classrooms in which they usually provide support so they can do this during remote learning as well.
What is going to happen to GCSEs?
GCSEs in summer 2021 will have slightly adapted content because of the lockdown announced in the UK on 23rd March. These details are still being finalised in September 2020. We are watching closely, and collaborating with local schools to ensure we are all supporting each other and our students through this complicated time.
My child is eligible for Free School Meals. Can you help?
We will follow government guidance on the provision of free school meals during periods of distance learning.
Please contact email@example.com for any queries related to free school meals.
Can my child come back to school to collect books while we are closed?
No. Schools have been closed to create distancing for everyone’s protection. If this changes, we will let you know. We may well be able to collect books and have them ready for you in a bag in reception. Please contact us if this would help you.
My child is isolating at home, but the rest of the year is in class. Can you help?
We understand that Covid-19 testing is taking some time now and that there may be instances when children are at home while everyone else in their year group is in school. We can’t double teacher's workload by asking them to teach lessons in person and on Microsoft Teams. However, we can provide PowerPoints and resources of lessons missed, via Microsoft SharePoint and Teams, and guide students towards other activities where possible. A two-week pack of paper activities is available from reception for those without internet access, for each year group.
I've read about the national Oak Academy, and all the content on BBC Bitesize. Are you using these lessons?
These are great resources, and are available here: https://www.thenational.academy/ and https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize These resources are especially useful when your child is at home but their peer group is at school.
I am a key worker. Can my child come to school?
We want to support the critical key workers fighting Covid-19. We will open for key worker families, and our vulnerable students as long as we possibly can. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you need more information about this.
When will you reopen to all students?
We must take advice from the Public Health authorities. We will communicate all information about reopening as outlined at the start of this plan. Thank you for your continuing support.