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Remote Learning

This guidance has been written in line with the Government on-going guidance, the latest being issued in January 2021, It will be updated regularly according to further changes.

This information, and the two videos, are intended to provide clarity and transparency to students and parents or carers about what to expect from remote education where national or local restrictions require entire cohorts (or bubbles) to remain at home.

For details of what to expect where individual pupils are self-isolating, please see the relevant section further down this page.

If you have any questions or concerns about remote education, please email clhodgs@monkswalk.herts.sch.uk


The remote curriculum: What is taught to pupils at home

 

What should my child expect from immediate remote education in the first day or two of pupils being sent home?

In this event, we will move immediately to teaching online via Microsoft Teams, following your child’s usual timetable.  Please make some allowances in provision in the first few days, as teachers adapt plans to remote teaching.

 

Following the first few days of remote education, will my child be taught broadly the same curriculum as they would if they were in school?

We teach the same curriculum remotely as we do in school.  However, we may need to make some adaptations in some subjects by shuffling content or hands-on practical activities. Overall learning aims will nonetheless remain the same.


Remote teaching and study time each day

 

How long can I expect the work set by the school to take my child each day?

We expect that remote education (including remote teaching and independent work) will take pupils broadly five hours each day.

Lessons are slightly shorter than lessons in school (shown below), to allow teachers time to set up on line and in the classroom and to give students a moment to move away from their screen

  Start Finish
Form 8:40 am 9:00 am
Period 1 9:10 am 10:00 am
Period 2 10:10 am 11:00 am
Break
Period 3 11:35 am 12:25 pm
Lunch
Period 4 1:20 pm 2:10 pm
Period 5 2:15 pm 3:05 pm

 

Prep at KS3 and KS4 will be kept to a minimum. Where set, as far as possible, staff will aim to make Prep non-screen based.

Sixth form students are likely to receive some additional Prep to enable them to keep up with their studies.


Accessing Remote Education

 

How will my child access any online remote education you are providing?

Lesson resources and lessons are provided via Microsoft Teams, which can be accessed via a pc, laptop, tablet, or smart phone. Prior to the lesson, staff will create the Teams lesson, which will show on a student’s Teams calendar with a link to join the meeting. Please view Mrs Gainsford’s video guide to Teams for further details.

 

If my child does not have digital or online access at home, how will you support them to access remote education?

We recognise that some pupils may not have suitable online access at home. We take the following approaches to support those pupils to access remote education:

  • We will issue laptops to students without a digital device, prioritising disadvantaged students and those with an EHCP in exam year groups.  Please contact ack@monkswalk.herts.sch.uk if you need a laptop
  • Students without an internet connection are identified and sent a survey to request a data uplift from their mobile phone company. A few students can be provided with a 4G router if they do not have an internet connection or are not with a mobile phone provider taking part in the data uplift scheme. 
  • If, for any reason, you are unable to access the online learning, please contact ack@monkswalk.herts.sch.uk

How will my child be taught remotely?

 

As far as possible, students are expected to follow the time and sequence of their usual timetable at home and access their learning resources and lessons through Microsoft Teams. 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.

Lessons may take different forms according to subject and year group requirements, but are likely to include some key synchronous (live) teaching input, some asynchronous (on demand) input,  and some time when teachers will be on-line to monitor or give support on student application of the teaching. Key teaching episodes could include:

  • A teacher selected appropriate lesson from Oak National Academy,
  • A narrated PowerPoint or teacher demonstration, (either made by the class teacher, or by a member of the school department, or other)
  • Q & A via the chat bar or verbally
  • Breakout room group tasks and discussions
  • Students working on paper or in their exercise books, with the teacher on hand via the chat if needed
  • Live monitoring of work being produced by students in OneNote or Assignments during lesson

Live lessons will be recorded, for students to access at a later point, should they need to.

Just as when in school, there may be occasions when a teacher will need to set cover work. Students will be notified of this via Posts or email.   The learning tasks will be uploaded into Files or Posts, and should be completed during the usual lesson time.


Engagement and feedback

 

What are your expectations for my child’s engagement and the support that we as parents and carers should provide at home?
  • While we realise that everyone’s circumstances will vary, if possible create a space for your child(ren) to take part in school lessons that is as close as possible to the school environment.  A table and chair is best, away from disturbances and distractions.  Phones, unless used to access Microsoft teams, should be removed from sight.
  • Please support your child to put consistent routines in places
  • Students are to begin the lesson with camera on, microphones muted, unless asked to unmute for discussions.  During independent work, the teacher is likely to specify that cameras are off
  • We recognise that home learning is challenging, so please check-in with your child frequently to find out how they are doing, what they are learning about and share successes or concerns. Praise your child(ren) for taking part in lessons by using the chat bar and contributing to discussions as well as ticking off tasks as accomplished
  • Please inform school if your child is unwell or cannot attend the lesson or day’s lessons
  • If your child is struggling with the lesson or work set, please encourage them to contact their tutor or subject teacher, or get in touch yourself.

For further information, please watch the video guide.

 

How will you check whether my child is engaging with their work and how will I be informed if there are concerns?

Teachers will check whether students are engaging with work on a lesson-by-lesson basis, by monitoring attendance and engagement data for each lesson and/or by viewing submitted learning tasks.

Parents will be informed if the level of engagement is not satisfactory via text or email.


How will you assess my child's work and progress?

 

Feedback can take many forms and may not always mean extensive written comments for individual children. For example, whole-class feedback or quizzes marked automatically via digital platforms are also valid and effective methods, amongst many others. Our approach to feeding back on pupil work is as follows:

Teachers will assess students' understanding, learning and learning tasks and give feedback in a range of ways, which will vary from subject to subject.

Much of this assessment and feedback is continuous and in the moment, happening at the point of learning. A common form of assessment is ongoing teacher questioning including whole class response via chat, polls, or low-stakes retrieval quizzes. Feedback can also involve self-checking, scoring or evaluating work against models or criteria. Student drafts can be shared for critique and improvement by the class.  While students work, their teacher can view the work as it is being created, if using Assignments on teams, and the teacher can ‘drop into' the document to add hints and tips.

After the lesson, the teacher may review the submissions, and provide whole class feedback, individual written or recorded verbal comment, or feedback video.  Class teachers may also give feedback to individuals or groups using breakout rooms in Teams, while the rest of the class are working independently.  Assessment and feedback is at its best when it involves a dialogue.

At key assessment points, (see subject overviews) teachers are more likely to give individual feedback, which could either be written, or recorded verbally.


Additional support for pupils with particular needs

 

How will you work with me to help my child who needs additional support from adults at home to access remote education?

We recognise that some pupils, for example some pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), may not be able to access remote education without support from adults at home. 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:

Our SENDCo and the Learning Support Team continue to support students with their remote learning. LSA are available during live Teams lessons to continue to support those students requiring support.

Please contact Mrs Boatwright sbo@monkswalk.herts.sch.uk if you require further assistance.


Remote education for self-isolating pupils

 

Where individual pupils need to self-isolate but the majority of their peer group remains in school, how remote education is provided will likely differ from the approach for whole groups. This is due to the challenges of teaching pupils both at home and in school.

 

If my child is not in school because they are self-isolating, how will their remote education differ from the approaches described above?

If a student is self-isolating, while the majority of students are in school, the teacher will make the decision to either invite them to join the lesson via Microsoft teams, or set work for them to do which can be accessed via Teams Files or Posts. In either scenario, the aim will be to ensure that that student remains up to date with the curriculum being covered in school.

In the rare event that work has not been set for a lesson, students should take the opportunity to complete a self-directed study task by viewing the resources in the Monk’s Walk subject overviews, and/or Oak National Academy lessons, on their current topic. The can then feedback their activity to the class teacher. 


What do to if your child is working from home: for Parents and Students

 

Top 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. Do devote enough time for this.  

Read a book: Escape, relax, unwind. Look after yourself. 

E-Safety: Please discuss e-safety with your son(s)/daughter(s).


Frequently Asked Questions:

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 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 the Class Files. Watch the Remote learning video for further details.

My child can’t log into Microsoft Teams. What should I do?

Please refer to the video guide

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 @monkswalk.herts.sch.uk  

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. 

If there continues to be an issue please contact help@monkswalk.herts.sch.uk

When will my child’s activities be available?

All teachers will be aiming to have lesson activities uploaded and ready for students by the time of each of their lessons. We ask students to follow their normal timetable for the week, as far as possible, and while the teacher input is unlikely to take the whole lesson (this would not be desirable), students are expected to spend the lesson time working on their allocated subject activities. Please encourage your child to reflect on their own learning and progress, rather than simply complete tasks. 

The tasks set are taking my child too long or are not long enough. How can I help my child?

Students do work at different paces and speeds, and so it is inevitable that this may happen from time to time.  Encourage your child to take ownership of their learning and feedback to their class teacher if they are struggling to complete the activities in the time allocated, or else are finding the work too easy.  You may also find the following coaching questions of use to help your child plan, monitor and review their work:-

Planning questions:

What have you been asked to do?’
‘Which strategies could you use?’
‘Are there any strategies that you have used before that might be useful?

‘Have you a model or idea of what it should look like?’

‘What sources of help have you got?’’

 

Monitoring questions:

‘Is the strategy that you are using working?’

‘Do you need to try something different?’’

Reviewing questions:

How well did you do?’
‘What didn’t go well?’ 

‘What could be done differently next time?’
‘What went well?’ 

‘What other types of problem can you use this strategy for?’ ‘What more could you do/do next?’

Where should my child complete the work set?

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. Where should 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.

Ask your child 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.

Please contact your child’s Head of Year or Form Tutor in the first instance.  

If it is a different urgent enquiry, please email admin@monkswalk.herts.sch.uk  or phone the school 01707 322846

I have a safeguarding issue that I would usually discuss with the school.  What should I do?

Our school website has lots of resources and links that might be able to help you.   Call 0300 123 4043 if you have any concerns to which social services should be alerted. 

My child usually has external support from a counsellor/therapist/specialist teacher. What happens now?

Contact our SENco, Mrs Boatwright sbo@monkswalk.herts.sch.uk to find out the status of your son or daughter’s additional support.

My child has a mentor. Will they have any contact while the school is closed?

Yes. Our mentors will continue to mentor students via Teams whilst they are working remotely. 

How will SEN support operate now?

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. 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. 

Can my child come back to collect books while school is 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 self-isolating at home, but the rest of the year is in school. 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. In this instance, students are to follow their usual timetable, completing the work set via Microsoft Teams. 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 Oak National Academy and bbc Bitesize. Are you using these in lessons?

These are great resources, and are available here: https://www.thenational.academy/ and https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize . These resources, and GCSE Pod, are especially useful when your child is at home but their peer group is at school. Your child’s teacher may also be directing your child to the appropriate resource.  

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 admin@monkswalk.herts.sch.uk if you need more information about this. 

If shut to year groups, how will the school decide when to reopen?

We must take advice from the Public Health authorities. We will communicate all information about reopening as outlined at the start of this plan.