There is no doubt that this is a challenging time for schools across the country. The new National Lockdown means that schools are physically closed to many students, meaning they have to access their learning from home. The Laurels Primary School in Worthing has risen to the challenges posed by this expertly, and have implemented a live learning programme that ensures the children at home are able to continue their learning alongside those in school.
At the end of week 3, 90% of children were engaging in the live lessons and the feedback from parents/carers and children has been fantastic. The school uses Google Classroom alongside Google Meet so that teachers can deliver a live, face to face lesson three times a day at 9am, 11am and 1pm. The vulnerable and key worker children in school also follow this time table with support from Teaching Assistants who are doing a fantastic job. Children who don’t have access to a device or internet access are being supported by the school to enable them to participate alongside their peers.
All teaching staff deliver the lessons remotely which means the children at home and in school access the same learning experience. The use of Google Meet means the children are able to interact with each other and the teacher, which mimics the classroom environment. Interventions for speech and language and reading catch ups are also being delivered via Google Meet in addition to the regular time table. Beth Collins, Assistant Headteacher, said:
‘We are delighted with how the live lessons are working. We set very clear expectations and also hosted a live Google Classroom session for parents and carers which has helped ensure success. We are also very proud of the way our children (and parents/carers) have very quickly taken on board the expectations we have set.’
One of the key benefits to this approach is that the learning burden on parents and carers, many of whom are also trying to work from home, is reduced. The school’s remote offer means the children are still accountable to their teachers rather than those at home. Parents/carers are asked to ensure their child has a quiet space to work and is logged in to lessons on time and the teachers do the rest. Tom Edwards, Key Stage 2 leader said:
‘It is very important that the live online learning reflects the real classroom as much as possible. The real time interaction allowed by streaming encourages pupils to participate, ask questions, engage with one another and share their opinions. Teachers can go live, share their screen and impact learning. There are lots of possibilities and some classes have even been on a virtual school trip.’
The remote learning programme also means that teachers are continuing to feedback on submitted work and monitor progress. Lessons are engaging and the teacher is there throughout the lesson to offer any help and support to those that need it during the completion of tasks. This structure also means the children feel connected to their classmates and allows for collaborative lessons which are much more engaging for the children.
Parents have been incredibly impressed by the school’s response to the enforced closure.
‘You are such an amazing team, I cannot imagine the large amount of work you did ahead to make this lockdown so easy and smooth. I’m sure a lot of parents can agree with me when I say that all your efforts have been massively appreciated to put this in action. Great work!’
‘Well done on the brilliant teaching provided.’
The current Remote Learning policy was devised in September which meant the school were ready to implement the online learning programme almost straight away and are delighted with how well it is working in practise. Charlotte Bull said, ‘Obviously, we cannot wait to have all of our children back in school. However, we are very proud of the way we have adapted our school to be accessible online, putting the children in a great place when we are able to welcome them back into the school building. We are so grateful to members of the community who have donated money and devices to make this possible.’