We appreciate that the sudden change to distance learning is difficult for students and parents. We want to create systems that are manageable and accessible for all of our families. Please communicate with us about how we can improve further.
Having a routine for completing learning tasks is essential. By setting up a regular place for your child to work, and a set time in which they will complete activities, it removes the stress around telling them it’s time to start. As much as possible, keep to the set times that your child is used to in school, including breaks. If it can become a habit, young people can get themselves in the correct mindset to complete their work.
Break it down:
Sometimes learning activities can seem overwhelming. From spelling lists to major research assignments, the idea of sitting down and getting started on a whole project can be daunting. To avoid this, break the task down into smaller sections to be completed each day. This way, the tasks become much more manageable and less likely to cause worry.
Before your child begins their lessons, it is important that they are ready to work as efficiently as possible. Ensure they have eaten something nutritious, like a healthy breakfast, and have had plenty of water. Where possible, have a workspace ready with all the necessary equipment and all possible distractions removed.
Take a break:
Studies have shown that people (not just children) have difficulty concentrating for longer than around 45 minutes at a time. Ensure your child has a short break after this amount of time to step away from their task and do something else before coming back to their work refreshed.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help:
Your child’s teacher should still be available. They are a valuable resource, so make sure you’re reaching out for help where you need it. Also, remember that many parents will be doing the same, so be mindful of requesting very quick replies or multiple questions over the day – try to compile a list of questions throughout the day and check in with your teacher at the end.
● All work will be set initially on SMHW. Links are likely to be made to Google Classroom where work can be submitted easily.
● Attachments should be included on SMHW as well as in Google Classroom as we know some students do not have access to Google Classroom, but can access work through SMHW.
● We want deadlines to be manageable for students. We aim to give students at at least a week to complete tasks to allow them to manage their time, especially if they have limited access to a computer. The project tasks will allow flexibility to fit around other commitments.
● After Easter, work will be set in the form of a project to be completed over the half term. However, teachers will ask students to return work at regular points, so they can receive feedback over time and are not tempted to leave it all until the end!
● If teachers are unwell, their colleagues will seek to set work on their behalf. It may take longer for work to be returned in this situation.
● If students are unwell, they are not expected to catch up on missed work unless they wish to do so. They should pick up classwork as they become well again. Please let their Head of Year know if they are unwell, so we ensure teachers are aware that they will not be able to complete work for a period of time. Remember to let us know when they are well again.
● Work should take no more than 45 minutes to complete, unless it is part of a longer project to be completed in blocks of time.
● Students should take at least 15 minute breaks between each ‘lesson’ in order to stretch and use their long distance vision. Physical exercise is an excellent way to refresh and reset the brain between ‘lessons’.
● We welcome parental and student feedback and will seek to make adjustments to make things manageable for students.
● Homework will not be set in addition to class tasks.
● We are making some adjustments to our curriculum, as some topics cannot be easily studied independently, but we will ensure that we revisit these topics when students return to school. Wherever possible, work will take the form of a project to be completed over time.
● Heads of department will coordinate topics to be covered and all teachers are expected to follow these schemes of work. Hard copy work will be coordinated by heads of department and should be as similar as possible to the work being set electronically, so students without computer access have as similar experience as possible to their peers with online access.
● We aim to ensure that tasks are accessible to students and are differentiated to suit the needs of our students.
● We will try to include as much variety as possible, so that students remain engaged. For example, alternating complex academic tasks with more creative open ended work.
● Longer projects will include regular check in points, so students remain engaged.
● We are aware that students will have access to varying resources, so we are seeking to avoid tasks that require specific resources that may not be available at home.
● We understand that some students do not all have access to Office software, so may not be able to open Word, PowerPoint, Excel files or Google documents. We will provide work packs for these students.
● Google Classroom is an excellent resource for managing the work that is submitted by students. It allows us to easily track completion and to mark online. Wherever possible, we encourage students to use Google Classroom.
● We understand that some students do not have access to Google Classroom, but can access SMHW through phones etc. We aim to ensure that these students get the same tasks and resources and encourage them to respond by email.
● We understand that some students do not have any computer access and are completing hard copy work. If students are able to take photos of work and email it to us, we can easily mark it, check progress and provide feedback. If this is not possible, please send a weekly email with progress made, so we can keep track of how your child is doing and help with any issues that are arising.
● It is important that students get feedback for completed work. This will help motivate them to continue.
● Google Classroom allows us to mark work and provide comments for students.
● For day to day classwork, we will not grade work. Teachers are likely to use comment only marking or to effort mark using the marks out of 100 system to record level of effort. End of unit tasks may be graded where this is helpful to students and teachers with the understanding that not all students will be able to complete.
● Google classroom offers excellent opportunities for students to respond to feedback after teachers have returned work. This may be set as the next lesson to encourage students to engage with their feedback. Work will not be returned more than once unless the student has not made the required changes.
● We will give students achievement points for completion of work to encourage motivation. We will not issue behaviour points for non-completion, understanding the range of factors that may make it impossible for students to complete at this time due to circumstances beyond their control.
● For students who are not completing work, we will make contact with home to ensure that parents are aware that work is not being completed. We will seek to coordinate, so parents do not receive lots of emails from different teachers over the same issue.
● We will seek to be aware of students who are working in school. We understand that they do not have as much time to complete work, but are completing other work in school.
● We will seek to be aware of students who only have access to hard copy work and will track their progress in other ways.
● When contacting parents/students, we will seek to be conscious of the many circumstances that may be impacting on students’ ability to complete work at the moment and the pressures being faced by families and we aim to keep the tone of correspondence positive and supportive.