Inspiring Learning at a distance
Our Distance Learning Plan describes how our school motto of Inspiring Learning continues even during a period of partial or full closure. All schools have emergency closure plans, but in the current circumstances we are added detail to it are sharing it whilst the school is 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 more 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.
How will you communicate the start and end of Distance Learning?
Communication of the start of this plan will be by:
- Message on the this page of the school website regarding which groups are studying at home and which groups are at school
- Email message from InTouch to all parents
- Email message to all staff
What will initiate Distance Learning?
The Government has issued guidance about the different tiers of opening that schools may experience in the coming months:
“Tier 1 involves remaining fully open, as the government has been clear that ensuring schools and educational settings remain open should be prioritised over other areas when restrictions are considered. Tier 2 asks secondary schools to adopt a rota system and further education (FE) colleges to limit on-site attendance, whilst all other settings, including alternative provision (AP) and special schools, remain fully open. Tier 3 requires secondary schools and FE colleges to limit on-site attendance to just vulnerable children and young people, the children of critical workers and selected year groups, other settings remain fully open. In the event of tier 3 local restrictions being implemented the Department for Education will issue operational guidance for the affected area that will confirm which year groups should be prioritised. Tier 4 goes further to limit attendance to just vulnerable children and young people and the children of critical workers at all settings, excluding AP and special schools. Where there are no local restrictions in place, education provision should continue to remain fully open to all, and these tiers do not apply.”
At Pinner High School this means:
Tier 1: Control measures as outlined on our New for November website are in place, as they have been since September. Students are now asked to wear masks in all communal areas in school.
We will follow protocols from Public Health authorities if a case of Covid-19 is confirmed in school. It may also involve some or all students in a year group being asked to isolate at home. If a whole year group is required to isolate, learning will continue for them in accordance with the 'Student Guide to Distance Learning’ which will involve live teaching for every lesson. This can only be the case when whole groups are away from school.
Tier 2: This can involve a rota system, likely to be a year group having 2 weeks in school and 2 weeks at home. Unless cases in a particular year group mean they should isolate first, the year groups will begin Distance Learning in this order: 9, 8, 7, 10, 11. Key worker and vulnerable students will remain in school.
Tier 3: If a ‘local lockdown’ is announced some year groups will begin Distance Learning. Government guidelines will be announced to identify which year groups will remain in school. Key worker and vulnerable students will remain in school.
Tier 4: Only Key worker and vulnerable students will remain in school.
Expectations of Distance Learning
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 which are available to appropriate students. These can be collected or delivered as required. We distributed the laptops made available to us by the Government during summer 2020, as well as our own laptops for students in need. 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 Google classroom. 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. If a whole group is isolating at home, lessons will run live as below in the 'Student Guide to Distance Learning'. Please also read the 'Student Guide to Google Meet'. Sessions will be recorded to enable students to catch up as necessary. If part of a class is isolating, activities will be available on Google Classroom.
Feedback on student work during Distance Learning will be by a combination of comments on Google classroom, 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 Google classroom to see their teachers comments. Their teachers may well be teaching some sessions to year groups in school, so responses will not be immediate.
We monitor students’ use of the learning platforms and completion of activities. We contact parents at the end of each week to:
- Recognise the efforts of students who are completely up to date at the end of the week. We will send an automatic email to parents so you can share this success with your child.
- Let you know that work has not been completed by the deadlines set in 3 or more subjects. This will be an automatic email alerting parents that their child is falling behind, so parents can support their child by looking at tasks that have been set and what has not been completed. We think this is better than receiving an alert for every piece of work as this would be very hard to track.
- Google Classroom Parental Emails are available. Please see the help sheet at the end of this page.
Students with Education, Health and Care Plans will be invited into school as much as possible during Distance Learning. This enables us to help students access the learning activities. Activities will be differentiated by teachers and teaching assistants and appropriate support provided.
We recognise that students respond in different ways to this new working arrangement. Many take to it very smoothly. However, those who find independent work difficult will find this challenging and need more support.
Our Learning mentors and counsellors will continue supporting students during Distance Learning. Form Tutors and Heads of Year will support students through Google classroom comments and phone calls.
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 is 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.
Please discuss e-safety with your child/ren before they return to 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 Google Classroom or will be signposted from there. Your child should login to the classroom for the subjects they would have that day to see their learning activities for the day. The Google classroom guide is on our website. See also the Student Guide to Distance Learning with times of live sessions if the whole class is Distance Learning. These sessions are recorded. The 'Student Guide to Google Meet' helps set some important protocols for doing this successfully.
My child can’t login to Google Classroom. What should I do?
We tested Google classroom for all groups in the first two weeks of term. Try setting your Internet browser to Google Chrome. This can give greater functionality.
If this continues to be an issue please email ICThelpdesk@pinnerhighschool.org
When will my child’s learning activities be available?
Please see the 'Student Guide to Distance Learning' below for the times of live sessions.
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?
Google Classroom has a messaging 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?
You will be sent Google Parental Summaries which is a daily email notification which parents will receive notifying you of the following:
Missing work—Work not turned in. Upcoming work—Work that’s due today and tomorrow. Class activities—Announcements, assignments, and questions recently posted by teachers.
The help sheet is below. If you need assistance, please email: icthelpdesk@pinner highschool.org
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.
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 or phone the school 020 3096 0769
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.
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. 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.
You can apply for free school meals here: Apply for free school meals
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for any other 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 at the moment 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 teachers' workload by asking them to teach lessons in person and on Google classroom. However, we have provided learning activities for every year group in every subject here below, which you can access should the need arise.
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 email@example.com if you need more information about this.
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.
When will you reopen to all students?
We have to 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.