“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.”
2020 marked what was perhaps one of the most remarkable points in living memory for the UK education system, when in March, schools across the world closed to all but very few students. In the weeks following the enforced school closures, schools had to rapidly adapt in order to continue to provide education to students, in spite of no longer being able to teach them face to face.
Fundamentally, Lymm High School is unapologetic in its advocation of the importance of academic education. While we do many other important things within our school community, our purpose first and foremost is to ensure that all of our young people leave with a set of qualifications that reflect their potential.
With this in mind, the decision for us was very straightforward: our young people learn best when taught by our excellent staff. If we cannot do this face to face, we will do it remotely. Lymm High School was an early adopter of remote teaching in the period of Covid-induced enforced closures, and live streams the majority of lessons to students who are unable to attend school due to Covid-related self-isolation.
In the event of any full or partial school closure, we are committed to providing continuity of education to our students.
Extensive remote learning will apply particularly in a situation whereby the school is closed for an extended period of time and a high proportion of students and teachers are healthy and/or able to work from home. We will always do our best to respond to the personal circumstances, and try to balance high expectations and rigour with common sense and humanity.
Our position will always be that, for the vast majority of young people, the best place for them to be is in school. Remote learning will only ever be a stop-gap until classroom teaching and learning can resume, and if children are well and safe to be in school, that is where they should be. There is no obligation for any school to provide continuity of education to students who absent themselves from school in contravention to school or government guidance.
Assuming an absence has been agreed with the school, and the student in question is healthy enough to work at home, we will endeavour to provide high-quality work for students who are unable to attend school.
Ordinarily, students who are learning remotely will be given access to a ‘window into the lesson’. This means that their teacher will open a live video stream via Microsoft Teams, and students will complete the same work that their peers are completing in class, as far as is possible. Please click here for the student guide on how to use Microsoft Teams.
Students who are learning remotely should attend all lessons and form time via the window into the lessons. The only exception to this is when the subject is delivering a practical lesson; for example, if a student would normally be in a subject like Design Technology, they would be unlikely to benefit much from having a window into a practical lesson. In this instance, class teachers will provide alternative work through Microsoft Teams. Students should complete this work during their timetabled lesson slot.
Alongside the formal curriculum, students should also attend their form time sessions, where they will be able to access pastoral important content. As well as this being the mechanism for PSHE, RSE and CEIAG, form time functions as ‘keeping in touch’ time, which is incredibly important in helping students to continue to feel a part of the school community.
Though we will respond as flexibly as possible to individuals, a rough guideline for the frequency of keep in touch (KIT) communication between school and home would be once per week. This is likely to be through the pastoral team.
The primary vehicles for remote teaching and learning in this instance will be Microsoft Teams and Zoom. All Lymm High School students and staff have accounts for both platforms. If teachers are using Zoom to run lessons during closures, they will share the details of their virtual meeting rooms in class Teams.
The vast majority of lessons will be live and online because we believe this is the best way of ensuring that students can follow a curriculum that is as close as possible to that which they would be following in school. It also allows for teachers and students to interact with one another in ways that other forms of remote learning do not allow.
In the very small numbers of cases where live lessons are not appropriate (i.e. KS3 PE and DT and KS4 Core PE) work will be set for students to complete via their class Team on Microsoft Teams. The same will apply on the rare occasions where, for any reason, a teacher is unable to deliver the lesson live.
Students should follow their normal timetable, logging onto the relevant class Team at the same time as they would normally have a lesson in school.
In 2020, Lymm High School rolled out a scheme to offer all students the opportunity to purchase a Chromebook. We also worked alongside families in other ways to ensure that all children have access to the appropriate technology to engage with online learning. However, if changed circumstances mean that you or your child do not have the necessary technology to access remote lessons, please let Miss Dixon (firstname.lastname@example.org) or the relevant Head of Year know so we can look at how to best support you.
The phrase ‘online lesson’ describes a process that is entirely remote, and is what would take place during a school closure. Online lessons will take place through Zoom or Microsoft Teams. Whichever video function the teacher uses, students will use Microsoft Teams as the gateway to the video function. They will open their class Team at the start of each lesson and the teacher will either begin the Teams meet or share the Zoom log-in.
For lessons employing the use of Zoom, students will only be able to join the lessons if they have logged in using their lymmhigh.org.uk email account. This is an important safeguarding mechanism and supersedes other concerns around access to learning. The school’s IT technicians can resolve any log-in issues quickly; if students are struggling because of forgotten or defunct log-in details, they should be directed to email@example.com.
The phrase ‘live-streaming of lessons’ describes a process whereby the teacher is delivering a lesson in school, while using Teams/Zoom to give the child who is learning remotely a ‘window’ into that lesson. As the teacher will not need to see the video of the child who is learning remotely, Teams may be more suitable. This is currently left to teacher discretion.
During live-streamed lessons, children learning remotely will be able to see the PowerPoint (etc) and hear the teacher. There will be no video function used during live-streaming of lessons. In many cases, the audio of the children at home will be switched off, and they will communicate via the typed chat function.
Students should engage fully in learning opportunities, and behave in a way whereby they do not prevent others from learning. If a student’s behaviour is not appropriate, the teacher or member of staff will give them a warning. If the student continues to misbehave, they will be removed from the online lesson and should not attempt to return. If possible, they should complete the tasks set in that lesson.
Serious incidences of misbehaviour (for example: misbehaving in several lessons; attempting to re-enter a lesson after being removed; abusive language) will result in a student being remotely excluded from lessons (i.e. being disallowed from joining Zoom/Teams meeting).
This is a serious sanction and will be issued only by the appropriate Head of Year and/or a member of the Senior Leadership Team.
Parents/carers will be informed of the reason/s for the sanction, as well as when the student will be allowed to attend sessions again.
Teachers will ensure that students have access to work for the period of their exclusion. This will be set on Microsoft Teams, unless the student has lost Microsoft access privileges. In this instance, teachers will set work on Show My Homework.
It is expected that all students who are well enough to learn should attend their remote lessons/live-streamed lessons. Students who do not attend these lessons put themselves at a disadvantage, and will almost certainly find it difficult to catch up when they return to school. Registers will be taken during online lessons and the school will endeavour to make contact with parents of students who are not engaging with remote learning to check for issues and encourage attendance.
Ordinarily, teachers assess student progress and provide feedback in a number of different ways. For example, they might: use questions directed towards individuals or use whole-class questioning; look at books as they circulate the room during lessons; mark books and other work with written feedback; provide whole-class feedback after written tasks; and set and mark formal assessments.
Clearly, much of this is impossible to do when students are learning remotely and we just have to accept that the feedback process cannot be as effective as it usually would be. It is simply not practical, for example, to collect books in for marking in the usual way. It is also a lot harder for teachers to monitor the amount and quality of work being done during lessons, as well as much harder to gauge students’ levels of engagement and understanding.
Nevertheless, there are still plenty of things that can be done.
Students can help by doing the following:
- Working hard and paying attention during all online lessons
- Asking the teacher for help, either verbally or using the chat function. If you are stuck, do not sit there doing nothing!
- Take part in class discussions. This can help develop your own understanding as well as giving the teacher really important information on what you and others in the class do and don’t know or understand
- Engaging fully when teachers are giving whole-class feedback after key tasks. Make sure you look out for the bits that you got wrong or could have done better on, and listen to the teacher so that you can improve next time
Parents can help by:
- Encouraging children to ask for help if they don’t know what to do. Teachers genuinely welcome this!
- Looking at your children’s books regularly to make sure they are completing tasks and working hard
- Making sure children revise for any tests. This is a really good opportunity to re-visit and consolidate learning. If you come across something that your child is really stuck on, feel free to email the teacher to ask for help.
Teachers will still be doing all they can to assess progress and provide feedback. This will include:
- Asking questions during lessons and taking responses from a range of students (n.b. this is the most common form of assessment when in school and will still be happening a great deal)
- Using quizzes and other short, ‘low stakes’ tests to check understanding
- Setting longer assessments or key pieces of work to enable students to show what they have learnt and teachers to assess what hasn’t been learnt so well
- Providing whole-class feedback after certain tasks – i.e. going through common mistakes or misconceptions
- Providing individual feedback on certain pieces of work (n.b. this is the aspect that is so much harder to do during any extended period of school closure)
Where individual students are self-isolating, they should complete all work in their exercise books and return these to teachers for marking in the usual way once they are back in school.
During any period of wider school closure, the ways in which individual, written feedback will be provided will vary according to the subject. For example, some teachers will use the assignment function in teams and others will use Microsoft Forms. Where appropriate, some subjects will use means of assessment that rely upon self-assessment or automatic marking. As a general rule, students can expect to receive individual feedback on key pieces of work or assessments every two weeks for KS4 and KS5 and twice per half-term for KS3 (depending on how often they have lessons in a given subject).
We recognise that some pupils, for example those with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), may not be able to access remote education effectively without support from adults. We acknowledge the difficulties this may place on families, and we will work with parents and carers to support those pupils in the following ways:
- School will remain open for all vulnerable students, including those with education, health and care plans (EHCPs)
- In-school provision will include one-to-one support from learning mentors, as appropriate, as well as support via the Hub
- The pastoral team will monitor attendance and contact home when there are concerns to gauge how students can be supported
- Learning mentors are part of online lessons on Teams and can be used to offer support and intervention in break-out rooms
- All learning mentors have allocated key students that will be contacted regularly to provide pastoral, organisational and academic support. Students with EHCPs will be contacted daily
- Learning mentors will collaborate with class teachers to differentiate work set for students with more complex SEND needs and/or to facilitate support between parents and teachers
Remote learning will never be as effective as in-school provision. However, if students engage fully with online lessons and feedback from teachers, then they still ought to be able to make progress close to that which they would make in school. In most cases, this will require support from parents. We therefore greatly value parental support and acknowledge the important role it plays in student engagement.
If students are required to self-isolate, relevant information is sent to parents on the same day, including details of how to access lessons, what pastoral/well-being support is available and all relevant contact details.
The most important things that parents can do to support with their child’s online learning are:
- Ensure the child has a suitable place to work – e.g. a quiet space, with a desk that is big enough for a laptop/Chromebook as well as exercise books and worksheets
- Make sure school is informed if you do not have an appropriate device for your child to work on (n.b. a mobile phone will not be suitable for most online lessons). Email Miss Dixon (firstname.lastname@example.org) or the relevant Head of Year and they will be able to help
- Show an interest in the work being completed and offer encouragement – bearing in mind that it can be tough (for younger children especially) to concentrate for a full day of online lessons
- Encourage children to take a full part in lessons, including keeping their camera on where the teacher has asked for this and contributing to class discussions (whether orally or via the chat function) as much as possible
PHSE, RSE and CEIAG remain important parts of the curriculum, and students’ rights to high quality information and guidance are not affected by any full or partial closure. As such, students will continue to have access to the weekly PHSE/CEIAG sessions that take place during form time, even if they are not able to physically attend school in person.
Please read the following guidelines carefully, and discuss them with your child.
While learning remotely, it is important that students comply with these additional guidelines (alongside the protocols that are already set out in our e-Safety Policy, Acceptable Use for Students Policy, and our Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy and Procedures).
In order to safeguard all students and staff, we ask that you ensure that your child adheres to the following expectations:
- Students should be dressed appropriately. A sensible guide is to ask whether they would be allowed to wear this on a normal non-uniform day. If not, it is probably not suitable!
- Even if your child is accessing the lesson on a handheld device like a phone, they should be sitting upright, as they would in class.
- During live lessons, teachers will be instructed not to admit students from the waiting room if they are not confident of their identity.
- The video feed should not be a distraction to others in the lesson. Try to make sure that your child has somewhere to sit where there is a neutral background.
- Remote lessons may be recorded by teaching staff and made available for students and staff to watch after the lesson has ended if necessary. All participants will be made aware if lessons are being recorded. Videoed content will be kept within the organisation (i.e. Lymm High School), and any attempt by students to share footage outside of the organisation is likely to constitute a GDPR breach. In this vein, screenshotting or recording images of staff/students is absolutely not allowed, and any such behaviour will be treated very seriously. Any concerns relating to unacceptable use should be referred to the classroom teacher or Designated Safeguarding Lead in the first instance.
- Students must communicate respectfully and formally to both staff and peers alike, just as they would in a normal classroom situation.
- Both Microsoft Teams and Zoom are platforms used by Lymm High School for the purpose of education. We expect that students make use of their features to learn to the best of their ability.
- For the duration of any remote learning. Students must follow the instructions of their teacher regarding their conferencing settings (muting of audio, posting of comments, screen background etc).
- Outside lesson times, video conferencing software must be used responsibly and in line with school communications policies. It should not be used to socialise.
Please note: if students do not abide by these expectations, they may be excluded from future online sessions. In such cases, a member of staff (typically the Head of Year or a member of the Senior Leadership Team) will contact parents or carers.
- For technical help, please email our IT team on ITHelpdesk@lymmhigh.org.uk
- For subject-specific queries, please speak to the class teacher in the first instance (email addresses available here), or the relevant Head of Faculty.
- For safeguarding or student wellbeing, please contact our Designated Safeguarding Lead, Mrs Ball, on email@example.com, or the relevant Head of Year.
- For general enquiries, please email Miss Heeks on firstname.lastname@example.org