Inspiring Learning at a distance
Our Distance Learning Plan describes how we want to ensure our school motto of Inspiring Learning continues even when the school is closed. All schools have emergency closure plans, but in the current circumstances we are added detail to it and shared it whilst the school was open. Our aim is that we will always be able to provide an effective education and this is more likely if our plans are known clearly in advance. There will be challenging times ahead, and by knowing more about how we will communicate, expectations of the learning experience and how families can support their children, we are all more likely to be successful.
Communication of the start of this plan will be by:
- Message on the front page of the school website: Distance Learning began on 19th March for Year 9, and 23rd March for all other year groups. School is open for students in Years 7 and 8 who are children of the most critical Key Workers fighting Covid-19.
- Start date on the Distance Learning page of the school website
- Email message from InTouch to all parents
- Email message to all staff
The school motto is ‘Inspiring Learning’; designed to reflect the everyday learning experiences in classrooms, and the commitment students need to have to inspire others. We aim to reflect this as much as possible in our distance learning plan. It 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, there are ‘paper only’ resources available. We surveyed students and parents during early March 2020 and have made these resources available to appropriate students in advance.
Where possible, students are asked to follow their usual timetable and access their learning resources through Show My Homework (SMHW). Following their usual timetable provides a structure to the day, 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 day by 8.30am on the day of the lesson. Some may be available in advance of this. Please remind your child to log in to SMHW every morning to see their learning activities for the day. We will be monitoring use of the learning platforms, and will contact you if work has not been completed by the deadlines set.
We recognise that students will respond in different ways to this new working arrangement. Many will take to it very smoothly. However, those who find independent work difficult will find this challenging and need more support. We have high expectations, but are also realistic about the challenges this situation will present. Our tips and FAQs are designed to help all families during these trying times. The FAQs include additional ways to contact the school should the need arise. You will find these at the bottom of this page.
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. Talk about how things are going. The international 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.
Please discuss e-safety with your child/ren before they start the distance learning programme. Our resources to help you do this are here: E-Safety Information
Frequently Asked Questions
Where is my child’s work?
All learning activities will be on Show My Homework (SMHW), or will be signposted from there. Your child should login to SMHW every morning to see their learning activities for the day. Many of them will be on Google classroom, as this supports a greater range of activities. The Google classroom guide is at the end of this page.
Links to curriculum resources:
My child can’t login to Show My Homework. What should I do?
We closely monitored SMHW in February and March, and sent login reminders to those who had not logged in as frequently as we would like. Families also have logins, as well as students. Please check your child’s bag to see if they have a login reminder. Please share your parental login with your child. If this continues to be an issue please email ICThelpdesk@pinnerhighschool.org
When will my child’s learning activities be available?
All teachers will be aiming to have lesson activities uploaded to SMHW and ready for students by 8.30am every day. We ask students to follow their normal timetable for the day, spending approximately 50 minutes on each lesson’s activities. Some activities may be available in advance of this, so please check your child is completing the correct activity. If there are any issues with SMHW due to overwhelming demand across the country, there are some reserve activities at the end of this page.
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.
I know lots of the learning activities are on Google classroom. I can’t seem to make that work.
Try setting your Internet browser to Google Chrome. This can give greater functionality.
My child does not understand what to do. How can they get help?
SMHW has a messaging feature that enables them to contact the teacher who set the work. 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 they teach six lessons in a day 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.
How do I get in contact with someone if I have a question?
Please be mindful that online learning is a significant change for teachers as well as students. We will all adapt as quickly as possible, but the more enquiries we receive, the longer it will take to respond to them. 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.
If you need to contact one of your child’s teachers, please use the SMHW messaging function.
If you have a general ‘year group’ question, please email your child’s year group:
If it is a different urgent enquiry, please email email@example.com
Please only use one contact address at a time. Sending a message to several addresses at once is likely to slow our response rather than speed it up.
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.
My child usually sees the school counsellor. What happens now?
We have set up specific email addresses for our school counsellors so that students who have appointments with them can still have that important contact. If your child sees the counsellor, they will have these details.
My child has a learning mentor. Will they have any contact while school is closed?
There is a Google classroom for students who access our learning mentors. Please encourage them to make contact.
How will SEN support operate now?
We have a Google classroom set up for students to access additional support in our virtual Hub. Our TAs are members of the google classrooms in which they usually provide support so they can do this during distance learning as well.
My child is eligible for Free School Meals. Can you help?
Yes. The government has announced a national voucher scheme which we will implement after the Easter holidays. We have made payments for the weeks commencing 23rd and 30th March. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
My child has music lessons with Harrow Music Service. What will happen now?
Harrow Music Service are setting up an online virtual classroom. We will send out details to parents as soon as we receive them.
Can my child come back to school to collect books while we are closed?
No. Schools have been closed to create ‘social distancing’ for everyone’s protection. If this changes, we will let you know.
Will your refurbishment programme be affected by school closure?
We have discussed this with our contractors, B&K, and until stricter measures were announced on 23rd March the schedule was running well. However, we are now looking at several contingency options as construction sites have closed nationwide.
My child has an unspent meal balance on their ParentPay account. Can I get this refunded?
Unspent meal balances can be returned to your ParentPay Parent Account. We are currently working on our plans to support children of key workers and politely request that parents do not send individual requests for refunds at this time. We will be working next week to communicate our plans and to ensure refunds can be handled promptly where this is necessary.
What will happen over the holidays?
We want to support the critical key workers fighting Covid-19. We are looking at different options to enable us to do this, whilst maintaining social distancing as effectively as possible. We expect to remain open over the holidays.
When will you reopen?
We are in frequent contact with the Local authority and Health officials. We will share reopening plans on our website as advice becomes available. We very much look forward to having everyone back with us as soon as possible. Updates on Covid-19 can be found here https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
We will review the situation on 15th April, to make a decision about how students will continue their learning when term starts on 20th April.