Letter to Parents/Carers 07/01/2021
Dear Parents and Carers
I apologise for yet another communication shortly after the letter yesterday but as you will be aware updates and information is coming through quickly at various points of night and day, so I just want to keep you all in the loop so that you are aware of everything myself and the staff team are working on.
Yesterday, further information regarding access to teams and class charts accessibility came to light and I wanted to pass this on in the event that it is useful to families.
Ability to access Microsoft Teams (and other platforms) via games consoles and smart TV’s.
Any platform which is browser based for students (Teams, google classrooms, class charts etc) can be accessed by most games consoles and smart TV’s which have inbuilt web browsers.
It is my understanding that this may be particularly helpful for sibling households who only have one shared laptop/computer but also have access to a games console/smart TV. It may also be helpful for households who have internet access, no laptop/computer but DO have a games console/smart TV. Unfortunately, there is no official guidance or user guides for how to access this at the moment but a google search will provide instructions as to how to access the browser on these types of devices.
We are aware that young people across the country encountered various issues trying to access remote education due to the sheer volume of people trying to get online. Please encourage the young people to keep trying to get online, even though I know it will be extremely frustrating.
To try and resolve this issue relating to bandwidth and support students with Wi-Fi, the DfE announced last night, a scheme in conjunction with major network providers which temporarily increases data allowances for mobile phone users on certain networks. This is so that children and young people can access remote education if their face to face education is disrupted. Schools can apply for this kind of support and we are currently in the process of doing this and will update you as soon as we are able.
Safeguarding and Remote Learning Expectations
When students are learning online it is vital that they feel safe and can learn without disruption. It is also important that staff know that when they are delivering live lessons that they can do that with full confidence that students are engaging in an appropriate manner. Unfortunately, yesterday a very small number of students sought to disrupt learning during live lessons. This is completely unacceptable to students and staff trying to do their best in extremely unusual circumstances.
The expectations for remote learning and live lessons have been shared with students but I would like to take the opportunity to reiterate them again here, and it would be very helpful if you could talk them through at home to reinforce these expectations with students.
Students should follow instructions from teachers in the same way they would do normally in a face to face classroom situation. The code of conduct still applies to live lessons.
If students do not follow the code of conduct we are operating our normal behaviour system and ultimately students will be removed from the live session.
All behaviour events will be logged in the same way they would be if students were at school in person. Any behaviour events will be followed up by Heads of Year, and the Deputy Headteacher Curriculum and Standards, Mrs Carter.
Similarly, students will be rewarded with praise points in the same way they would be if they were learning in school.
To support the smooth running of live lessons, there will be no chat function on MS Teams. This will be disabled automatically. Teachers will give students the opportunity to ask a question at the end of the session, or at break points, and students will indicate they want to ask questions by using the “hands up” facility.
All students will be muted automatically by teachers and students will be unable to unmute themselves or any other students. All student cameras should be switched off for safeguarding reasons and this will again be done automatically.
Finally, for training and safeguarding reasons, students should be aware that live lessons will be recorded through MS Teams as per our remote learning protocols. This recording will not be shared publicly but is being taken to ensure the safety of all concerned.
Year 11 and 13 Examinations
You may also be aware that the government is meeting with exam bodies today around lunchtime to discuss exams in the summer and January. Currently the government has left it to schools to decide whether or not they continue with January examinations, which is not particularly helpful and is unsettling for all concerned.
I have been in communication with our CEO, and Consilium agree that at this point in time without a clear government decision, we will carry on with January examinations. When I receive any further update, I will inform you of any changes but the current position is to please ensure the young people prepare for the exams over the next few weeks. I know only a small number of students are involved in Year 11 and 13 but I wanted to keep everyone in the picture because I know at the moment, clarity is needed for us all as we try to help and support each other.
Thank you as always for your support and patience and I will update you as soon as I know more.