As we all found out last night, schools are to be closed until at least the February half term. We know that this announcement means that remote learning will continue for longer than we had hoped, but we want to assure you that we have plans in place for such a scenario that we are now putting into action.
We also are very aware that this new lockdown puts further pressures on families, and we want to work with our community to make sure these next 6 weeks of remote learning are as successful as possible given the circumstances we face.
Remote Learning Support
Over the last two school days, we have been really impressed with the number of pupils engaging with remote learning via Teams. We have also been working hard in identifying families who are experiencing any technical difficulties in accessing remote learning. If you feel that your family is facing technical challenges, then please do contact the school as soon as possible and we will do our best to get your child online as soon as we can.
For those who have been onto Teams, you will hopefully have seen that our remote offer is very different to the one from the previous lockdown. We are regularly reviewing our provision as staff, and based on parental feedback, to make it more successful for pupils and the families and staff supporting them.
I would like to share with you some of plans we have for remote learning over the next half term:
- Daily videos from a member of the year group’s teaching team, explaining the day’s lessons in a little more detail and providing useful tips, reminders and links back to previous learning. These will be posted on the class walls each morning.
- Links to external provider video lessons (such as the Oak Academy) will be provided where appropriate (but not for every lesson) to complement our own teaching. These will not replace our own resources, and will be used for those who may wish to have further details, explanations or extensions on a given topic and are not compulsory.
- Teacher/Pupil video catch up. In weeks three and four, wb 18th & 25th January, we will be holding teacher/pupil catch-ups via Teams. This is for your child to have a face-to-face catch-up with their teacher on how remote learning is going and to answer any questions they may have, though many of these can be answered ‘live’ via Teams each day. They will be booked in a similar way to parent consultations via an online form. More details on this will be provided soon.
- Certificates that would normally be awarded in Friday assemblies will be awarded electronically, along with postcards for those demonstrating the school’s core values while at home.
- Following parental feedback, assignment release times will be adapted to 6pm on the night before, This will allow more flexibility for parents in preparing for the following day’s work. Assignment closing times will remain 8pm.
Live or video lessons
We have been asked by some parents about live streaming and/or video lessons, and I wish to provide clarity on why as a school we have chosen not to follow this route with our remote learning offer.
Live lessons can provide an extra element of interaction between pupils and staff, but this comes with issues around fixed timings and a need for all pupils to have a video-ready device, which we are aware is an issue for many families and particularly for multi-child households. In addition, there are safeguarding issues due to a lack of control over what happens on other people’s cameras. Recorded video lessons can provide further detail and explanation, but lack personalisation and are very time consuming to produce.
We firmly believe that our offer via Teams provides the greatest flexibility for the greatest number of families, whilst ensuring the lesson content stays as close as possible to what we would be teaching pupils in school.
Our offer includes video messages each day to explain the assignments, and these assignments can be adapted for small groups/individuals that are better tailored to their needs. We can also draw on high quality video resources, such as the Oak Academy, to complement our CHJS curriculum where needed. We believe it is best to have the teachers who are not teaching key worker groups focused on tailoring lesson resources to meet the needs of their classes and/or individual circumstances, and for them to be available to respond quickly to any questions or issues raised through Teams wall posts, via parent emails or through the office.
Critical Worker & Vulnerable Children Provision
School remains open to a small number of pupils that meet the criteria as set by the government. If you feel that your child meets the criteria, please follow the advice in our letter sent last week and complete the registration form so that we can plan for possible places needed.
For those using this provision, we can now confirm the slightly adapted start and end times of the day:
Years 5/6 Arrive for 8.30am Leave at 3.00pm
Years 3/4 Arrive for 8.50am Leave at 3.20pm
Lessons in school follow the same content as being taught via remote learning at home. Hot school lunches remain available to all those in school who need them, and can be paid for in the normal way via SIMs Pay.
I would just like to restate that we fully recognise that this current situation is placing significant pressures on families. The CHJS staff team are working hard to make sure we are supporting you as much as we can, whether they are helping those learning at home or those children in school.
Support for remote learning is available every day on Teams by posting on the class page, via class teacher emails (e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org ), or by phoning the school office on (01702) 478570. Please note, the support may be provided by someone who is not your child’s class teacher, as they may be teaching the key worker groups and unavailable at that time. However, it will almost always be someone from your child’s year group team or a member of the senior leadership team.
Finally, I also ask that as a community we can support the CHJS staff team, who are personally experiencing many of the same working pressures as the families we are trying to help. We all share with you a wish that a new lockdown and school closures was not reality again, but sadly this is a matter out of our control. We want to make sure we are all working together supportively and join you in looking forward to the day we can safely return to a sense of normality again.
Thank you for your continued support.