In September 2020 all our students returned to full-time education following the Covid-19 partial closure in March 2020. It is important that all students are able to access the curriculum and we recognise that during this pandemic for many reasons a blended learning approach will be needed to ensure students can learn remotely if they are unable to attend school.
This meets the expectations set out in the DfE guidance ‘Remote Education Support:
The school will set work through Microsoft Teams and indicate through the centralised management and communication app, EdulinkOne, that a task has been set. This Remote Learning Action Plan will be placed on a Remote Learning Tab under the Parents & Carers section of the school website.
The Remote Learning action plan aims are to:
- ensure consistency in approach
- set out expectations for all stakeholders
- provide guidance for data protection and safeguarding
- maintain an ambitious, broad and balanced curriculum that is aligned with in-school provision and uses high quality resources whilst providing timely feedback
All students have an Office 365 account administered by the school. This account gives students access to the following suite of online applications:
The applications above, in addition to other programmes that staff may use from time to time e.g.
MyMaths, Kerboodle etc., can be accessed using RM Unify login. In all cases students must use their @dhsg.co.uk account to login to any app or application. Students are not to use any other account for the purpose of remote learning. Students and staff can download desktop versions of MS applications on their pc or Mac by logging into office.com from their browser and signing in using their school email then clicking on the Install Office icon and following the instructions.
Work set remotely will be set through Teams and students will upload completed assignments and receive feedback from teachers using this application. As appropriate, other Microsoft applications will be used in conjunction with Teams when setting work.
Access to technology
In order for remote learning to be delivered successfully, students must have access to an appropriate device to access the Office 365 Suite and in particular Teams. Where possible, and supported by the DfE Laptop Scheme for Schools, if the student does not have access to the necessary technology the school will do all it can to support the student. Students access to broadband, and computer/laptop/tablet will be monitored through a survey and support prioritised.
We have provided students and staff with user guides for most applications within Microsoft Office 365 including Teams. Staff have all received further INSET and support using Teams.
We continue to expect all staff to abide by the highest professional standards when working directly or remotely with students and our Safeguarding Policy with the Covid-19 Addendum and the Staff Code of Conduct still currently apply. Students must comply with the Internet Acceptable User Policy (AUP) and our Behaviour for Learning Policy in addition to the guidance in this document. We request that parents/carers ensure that their child fully understands and agrees to follow these guidelines.
Staff receive safeguarding training and updates on an annual basis. We have clear avenues of
communication should students, parents or teachers have any safeguarding concerns in relation to remote learning. All stakeholders are encouraged to report their concerns directly to our Designated Safeguard Lead, Assistant Head Teacher, Mrs R Morgan or Deputy Designated Safeguard Lead, Deputy Head Teacher, Mr A Thomas. Information can also be reported anonymously through the ‘Whisper’ feature built into the school website.
Staff are instructed to, where possible, communicate within the school hours (or hours agreed by the school to suit the needs of staff), using school email addresses and telephones (or other methods approved by the senior leadership team). Staff are encouraged to use school devices over personal devices where possible and not store personal information relating to school on any personal device.
We recognise that teaching from home is different from teaching in school and ask staff to find a quiet or private area to talk to students, parents or carers. When broadcasting a live lesson, staff should consider carefully what will be in the background. When live streaming, staff are encouraged to record lessons to support students that are absent and help support staff workload. Staff are instructed to use first names only when interacting with their class to ensure students are not identifiable.
Providing pastoral care remotely
Where students are required to remain at home (for example, if students need to self-isolate or there are local restrictions) the school will help parents, carers and students by following the students’ two-week timetable or revised plan or structure as need arises. These plans recognise the need for routine, exercise and relaxation to develop good learning habits and improve wellbeing. The need for routines is widely documented as providing students with an increased security in the context of uncertainty.
Pastoral leaders including our Student Support Team will track student welfare and engagement and keep channels of communication open, with all parties including parents/carers and other support services as required. On occasions, with permission from the DSL or Deputy DSL, a member of the pastoral team may hold one-to-one sessions via Teams with student video feed switched on, in order to provide the best level of care and support. The parents/carers and DSL would be informed of such meetings.
During the national lockdown DHSG maintained good communication with all parents / carers / students and staff. EdulinkOne is used as our primary method of communication as it provides push notifications to all mobile devices. In the event of a partial or full lockdown students will access their work through Teams and parents/carers will receive reminders that work has been set through the Home Learning feature on EdulinkOne. Teachers and students may also use the ‘chat’ feature in Microsoft Teams to communicate, regarding assignments and work. Students will receive timely feedback in line with the school’s marking policy through Teams.
The Curriculum Continuity / Blended Learning Offer
A blended learning approach enables us to maintain our outstanding curriculum and give support to students in developing deeper understanding and maintain good progress. Staff are using MS Teams to store their lesson materials and plans as a matter of course so that in the case of a partial or full local lockdown students can continue their learning at home.
If an individual or small group of students has to self-isolate students will access support material through Teams and other online applications as directed by their class teacher. This work will be aligned as closely as possible with in-school provision, thus enabling them to keep up to date with the current topics being taught in school until a time when they return, and can receive further assistance with developing skills and understanding.
If a class / year group bubble has to self-isolate staff will hold lessons at their regular time using the MS Teams platform. These lessons will include live and pre-recorded lessons, virtual white boards, screencasts and materials linked to OneDrive and other applications. The work set will be in-line with the level of curriculum challenge in school but will take account of the age of the student and their ability to work with independence. Time to login, find material, read and decipher material, in addition to completing the task will be built into each session. Staff will only be available to chat to students in Teams during their timetabled lesson to allow them to continue their teaching role in school. Staff will encourage students to find time to exercise and relax to maintain a positive mind-set and good health.
Staff will keep a register of students’ participation and attendance in each lesson, and inform their line manager if they have any concerns. Working closely together the teacher, line manager and pastoral lead will decide the next action to ensure that a student is looked after and supported in their learning. Parents/carers will be informed as required.
If the school closes teachers and students will all revert to using MS Teams following the approach detailed above.
If we are required to provide support for Key Worker and Vulnerable Children, they will follow the same learning plan as their peers studying at home. They will work, socially distanced, in computer suites to allow them access to the work and lessons using the MS Office 365 Suite. They will be encouraged to bring their own headphones to allow them to take part in online lessons without disturbing others in the room. At
least one member of SLT and a member of the pastoral team on a rotation basis will always be present to oversee the provision and provide support as required.
Form Tutors will keep in touch with their groups through Teams and the more vulnerable students from this group will have a mentor who maintains a weekly or biweekly contact with them, depending on need.
Advice to parents / carers and students
We ask parents and carers to support us by:
- Reviewing the features of MS Office 365 and particularly MS Teams
- Ensuring they have the EdulinkOne App installed on their mobile device; thus keeping lines of communication open between school and home
- Encouraging their child to keep to the school routines and create breaks for exercise, play and relaxation
- Reminding their child to wear appropriate dress and choose appropriate backgrounds if they have an online meeting / lesson with a member of staff or external provider
- Check cameras and microphones are working
- Ensuring their child has the necessary equipment and materials nearby
- Keeping laptops and tablets plugged into mains power
- Encouraging their child to close other browser tabs, in particular social media and chat facilities
- Reminding their child to respect the platform and refrain from inappropriate messages or disruptions to a lesson (the School’s Behaviour for Learning Policy will be applied and appropriate actions taken in the event of such behaviour)
If a parent or carer is concerned about any remote provision they should contact the school immediately. For students:
- You are to communicate through your @dhsg.co.uk account only. The use of any other account or e-mail address is expressly prohibited
- Do not engage in communications with any account other than an @dhsg.co.uk account and report any such activity to your teacher or Head of House @dhsg.co.uk e-mail account
- You must always be polite and respectful to your teachers and fellow students
- You are not to film (by any means) or forward any content within a Teams group – such as worksheets, exam papers, answers, solutions, videos, notes or links – to anyone else without the permission of the creator of that content
- You understand that all your online activity is monitored. This includes anything on e-mail and Teams, and whether you are checking in regularly for assigned work
Any difficulties accessing MS Office 365 at home should be directed to the IT Team by the student via the Helpdesk ticket system on our RMUnify page.