Berwick Academy Virtual Learning Provision: Information for Parents and Carers
This information is intended to provide clarity and transparency to students and parents or carers about what to expect from remote education if local or national restrictions require entire bubbles to remain at home.
For details of what to expect where individual students are self-isolating, please see the final section of this page.
Further information on virtual learning at Berwick Academy during normal school opening can be found here. Our full Blended Learning Policy, which includes details of our use of virtual learning during normal school opening, is available on request.
The remote curriculum: what is taught to students at home?
Will my child be taught broadly the same curriculum as they would if they were in school?
- When delivering learning remotely, we continue to offer a broad, balanced and ambitious curriculum to our students, reflecting our Curriculum Vision, Aims and Principles.
- We continue to offer a knowledge-rich curriculum, planned and sequenced to optimise student engagement and learning.
- We teach the same curriculum remotely as we do in school wherever possible and appropriate. However, we may at times need make some adaptations in some subjects. For example, learning for subjects with practical elements such as Physical Education and Design Technology may need to be adapted to ensure that students can access and complete activities from home.
- In addition to the traditional taught curriculum, we continue to offer students a range of opportunities to enrich their learning and build cultural capital and critical literacy, for example through weekly virtual assemblies and The Berwick Reads project, which allows students to listen to audio recordings of challenging classic and modern texts read by their teachers.
Remote teaching and study time each day
We expect that remote education (including remote lessons and independent work) will take students approximately five hours each day, following their in-school timetable.
Accessing remote education
How will my child access any online remote education you are providing?
Microsoft Teams Classes is the main platform that students will use to access, complete and submit their virtual learning, as our research, benchmarking and work with students has shown that this provides the most effective learning experience. There are a small number of exceptions where students will submit their learning in another platform, such as Hegarty Maths for Mathematics, or Show My Homework for quizzes.
Students can access their Microsoft Teams Classes by logging into their Office 365 account. We would like to ask all students, parents and carers to watch this video which gives more information on how to use and access Microsoft Teams Classes. Students can also access Show My Homework using their Office 365 logins.
We use Show My Homework to give parents/carers an easy and clear way to monitor their child’s virtual learning and submission of work, as there is no parental account currently available in Microsoft Teams Classes. In Show My Homework, teachers will list the assignments that have been set in Teams Classes and update students’ submission status for each lesson. We would like to encourage you to access Show My Homework regularly to view the virtual learning set for your child and check their submission status.
Login codes have been provided to parents/carers for the creation of parent/carer accounts. If you or your child have any difficulties with access to Microsoft Teams Classes or Show My Homework, please email email@example.com or contact the team at Show My Homework. You can log a query directly with Show My Homework using help.showmyhomework.co.uk or by calling 0207 1979550.
This document provides further guidance for parents and students on the use of Show My Homework and Microsoft Teams Classes.
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 students may not have suitable online access at home. We take the following approaches to support those students to access remote education:
- Surveying Year 9 students on entry regarding remote learning and access to devices and the internet at home.
- Encouraging all parents and carers to communicate any remote and online learning needs via letters home and whole school surveys during each lockdown period.
- Laptops, 4G routers and 4G data SIM cards are loaned to students to use at home where a need is identified and a device is available (note, there is a limited supply). Equipment is allocated based on an assessment of need, and priority access may be given to students who are supported by pupil premium funding arrangements, have an identified Special Educational Need or are part of a school or wider services support plan.
- Students and parents in receipt of loaned IT equipment will be required to sign loan agreements and adhere to the school’s acceptable use and online safeguarding policies. When a device is no longer required, is shown by monitoring programmes not to be used regularly, or if acceptable use policies are breached, students will be asked to return equipment to school so that it can be redistributed as required.
- If access to printed materials is required this should be communicated to the relevant Pastoral Leader and arrangements will be made to provide these for collection from school, or they will be delivered or posted home. Completed work can then be submitted by returning it to school via the main reception, or by requesting support with collection or postage.
- Concerns about access to online learning or requests for further information can be shared at any time with school reception staff, the relevant Pastoral Leader, or during wellbeing phone calls home from staff.
Emails can also be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org to access support, guidance or advice.
How will my child be taught remotely?
We use a range of approaches to teach students remotely. These are based on research and bench-marking to ensure that we are using best practice, and ongoing dialogue with students, parents/carers and teachers about the most effective approaches.
Our remote curriculum is delivered principally through recorded and guided learning, using carefully selected platforms and clearly guided tasks to simulate effective classroom learning. This allows our students access to a high-quality remote education in a flexible way that is appropriate to their home circumstances. We also offer some face-to-face online seminars for Sixth Form students to complement recorded, guided and independent learning.
We offer live virtual learning for our Reading Support Programme, as this approach allows us to provide the most effective one-to-one support to participating students.
Further details of our approach to remote teaching:
- We use recorded learning to give students clear explanations of new material and learning tasks, to provide modelling of the type of work that is expected, and to help them to feel a connection with their teacher.
- We use the ‘active ingredients’ of our face-to-face teaching in our virtual learning. These are:
- Retrieval practice, at the start of each lesson.
- Do Now Activities – DNAs – in which students are guided to work more independently.
- Vocabulary teaching and reading activities.
- Teacher narration, with the teacher providing a summary of the learning at the end of the lesson.
- We make regular use of quizzing to further support the consolidation of knowledge and students may be asked to complete quizzes within Show My Homework or Microsoft Teams Classes.
- Teachers use a range of electronic resources, including Word Documents and PowerPoints, that students can access and, where appropriate, edit and submit, through Microsoft Teams Classes, allowing them to engage in a range of learning activities.
- We have identified and invested in a carefully selected range of additional virtual learning platforms to enhance our virtual learning offer and meet the requirements of different subjects. These platforms are used to complement the recorded and guided learning outlined above:
- Hegarty Maths
- Seneca Learning
- Oak National Academy
- The Everlearner
- Internet Geography
If access to printed materials is required this should be communicated to the relevant Pastoral Lead and arrangements will be made to provide these for collection from school, or they will be delivered or posted home. Completed work can then be submitted by returning it to school via the main reception, or requesting support with collection or postage.
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?
Our expectation of student engagement in virtual learning is high, and we continue to educate students in The Berwick Way of being On Time, On Side and On Task.
We encourage all students to:
- Log into Microsoft Teams Classes each morning to access the learning for that day.
- Work through each virtual lesson in turn, following their in-school timetable where possible.
- Use chat to communicate with their teachers if they would like advice or support.
- Where the teacher asks that learning is submitted, do so on the same day that the task is set wherever possible.
We recognise that there may be times when it is not possible for your child to work in this way, but if they can form good habits that are similar to the routines of a school day, they will find it much easier to continue effectively with their learning
We ask all parents/carers to:
- Log into Show My Homework regularly, and each day if possible, to check the learning that has been set for your child.
- At the start of each day, talk with your child about the learning, helping them to plan when and where they will complete their work, including when they will take breaks.
- Check in with your child during their study sessions to provide encouragement and support.
- Watch this video which gives more information on how to use and access Microsoft Teams Classes.
- Contact the school if you require any further support with your child’s remote education, for example, with ensuring that they can get access to and complete the learning.
How will you check whether my child is engaging with their work and how will I be informed if there are concerns?
We will check your child’s engagement with their work in a number of ways:
- The class teacher will monitor your child’s engagement with their virtual learning each lesson and offer regular encouragement and feedback within the relevant virtual learning platform.
- A member of the leadership team will co-ordinate information about student engagement on a weekly basis in addition to checking student logins to virtual learning platforms. This information will be used in conversations with parents and students about how to support engagement in learning.
- As a parent of a student at Berwick Academy, you will receive a phone call at regular points from a member of staff to update you on their progress and engagement with virtual learning. If there are any concerns, these will be explained to you during this phone call, and we will work with you and your child to identify ways forward.
How will you assess my child’s work and progress?
Feedback during remote education follows the principles of our whole-school assessment and feedback policy. Wherever possible, we will continue with planned assessment remotely, and your child will receive feedback which is timely, addresses misconceptions, and helps them to improve.
Feedback can take many forms and may not always mean extensive written comments for individual students. 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 work is as follows:
- Your child will receive feedback in each subject at least weekly.
- The methods used to provide feedback will include:
- Comments next to or within the body of a piece of work on Show My Homework, Microsoft Teams Classes or other virtual learning platforms.
- Teacher ‘www’ (what went well) and ‘ebi’ (even better if) comments.
- Whole-class feedback delivered as a document or audio-recording.
- Marks, scores or grades.
- Where students have engaged in a planned, formal assessment, they will receive more in-depth feedback, including literacy marking for spelling, punctuation and grammar errors.
- On some occasions, teachers will ask students to act upon feedback by completing corrections and doing improvement work, as they would in school. ‘Improvement Work’ should be clearly visible in students’ virtual learning with the use of red text where possible.
Additional support for students 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 students, for example some students 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 students in the following ways:
- We will ensure that students with Special Educational Needs have the resources they need to access the virtual learning provided as a priority.
- We will take an individualised approach, using our detailed understanding of students and our Pupil Profiles to identify individual needs. The SEND Team will then work in collaboration with teaching staff to use this knowledge to plan and deliver teaching materials to meet the individual needs of students.
- The SEND Team will maintain regular contact with families to maintain a relationship with the school’s staff and environment.
- Students with individual needs and their supporting families will have the opportunity to work closely with the SEND support team to identify any barriers to learning and be supported to overcome these in the most effective way possible.
- Students with an Education and Health Care Plan that is due to be reviewed will continue through this process, with the review being carried out remotely and support in place by the relevant professionals from the Local Authority.
- We will seek support from others outside of the school where additional support is required, and maintain a regular contact and positive relationship with those in the Local Authority who can help us to help our students.
We fully understand the students may face lots of changes in their day due to the COVID-19 situation, as their routines, regular support and the people they see will be different. Every child with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) is different and will have different support needs in the current situation. The SEND Team is here to support students and help parents and carers, and we can help to advise and support you as you support your child at home to continue to make individual progress.
Remote education for self-isolating students
Where an individual student or small group is self-isolating for an extended period, but this does not affect an entire bubble, work will be set for that student or group using the approaches and platforms outlined above, reflecting the topics, content and amount of learning that they would have engaged in 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?
Work will be set through Microsoft Teams classes, as outlined in the guidance above, and will reflect the student’s in-school lessons. The learning material provided will include a variety of resources determined by the requirements of individual subjects and the most effective way to support the continuation of learning during the student’s period of isolation. Content will include some recorded learning which may, for example, be provided through school-approved platforms such as Oak Academy and Hegarty Maths.