6th October 2020
Six weeks into this school term, and with our Covid-19 controls well established in school, I’m writing to you now to outline the guidance given to schools in case of local lockdown. I must stress I have no insider knowledge of planning at that level for Redbridge, but we all know that infection rates are high locally. We are looking forward to welcoming Year 10 back tomorrow after their enforced self-isolation. We’ve had remarkably few positive Covid-19 test results among the immediate WCHS community to date. This is a scenario that could change very quickly, however, so we need all of us to redouble our basic precautions (hand washing; distancing and the use of face masks; cough and sneeze hygiene; self-isolating at the first suspicion of symptoms or when required to by Public Health England; and minimising social mixing – that “rule of six”.)
Dfe guidance makes it clear that schools remaining open even in the event of a local lockdown is a priority. In “exceptional circumstances” restrictions for schools will be implemented in a phased manner, the key aim being to retain as much face-to-face education and access to childcare as possible. These ‘tiers of restriction’ will ensure that extensive limitations on education and childcare are a last resort, and that priority is given to vulnerable children and children of critical workers for face-to-face provision in all cases.
Tier 1 involves remaining fully open, with the requirement for face masks in communal areas.
Tier 2 asks secondary schools to adopt a rota for onsite learning / remote schooling
Tier 3 requires secondary schools to limit on-site attendance to just vulnerable children and young people, the children of critical workers and selected year groups as designated by the DfE. (i.e. situation from mid-June to the end of 2019/2020)
Tier 4 limits attendance to just vulnerable children and young people and the children of Key Workers. (i.e. situation from late March to Mid-June 2020.)
We have effectively operated under Tiers 1, 3 & 4 already. Tier 2 would be a new scenario and thus has been a focus for our planning and preparation as it would require a rota system and simultaneous remote and on-site schooling.
Contingency planning has included further increasing the technology available for use. Your daughters have doubtless already been taught remotely in school by teachers temporarily self-isolating at home. Similarly Year 10 have had live lessons at home delivered by teachers in school. This has involved some serious strategic planning – and the purchase of literally dozens of web cams. (When we delivered Remote Schooling before the majority of staff were working from home. Now, in the main, we are operating from school.) Department teams have been working very hard to ensure students can access work via SatchelOne (formerly ShowMyHomework) from Day One of a Covid-related absence - whether an individual absence, a Year group absence or because of a Tier 2, 3 or 4 intervention. Beyond that we have been developing protocols for the resumption of Remote Schooling (i.e. day 2 onwards) when large groups need to work out of school. We very much hope to continue throughout the winter with students on site, where they belong. But equally we recognise our responsibility to be able to switch effectively to Remote Schooling should this be necessitated.
In the document below, we outline the Remote Schooling provision planned, in the various scenarios envisaged.
Remote Learning protocols – information for parents
Scenario 1 – individual student self-isolating for 14 days
- The Key Stage Administrator will send parents (or students, in the case of Sixth Form) a document stating where online class work and resources can be found for their year group
- Homework will continue to be set on SatchelOne as for the rest of the class
- Work will be provided approximately equivalent to the number of lessons that the student would usually be receiving in school
- Student work will be marked in line with the marking that is taking place for the rest of the class – not every piece of work completed will be marked
- In addition to the instructions regarding work to be completed during self-isolation, a brief ‘self review’ document will be sent for students to complete prior to returning to school – this should be given/sent to form tutors upon student’s return to school
- The intention of work being set for individual students self-isolating will be to keep them broadly up to date with the work that the rest of the class is completing in school – students should not expect to receive individual support or feedback, or live remote teaching.
Scenario 2 – one or more whole year groups working remotely (for 14 days or longer)
- Remote schooling will remain in line with the usual school timetable in terms of when students are expected to complete lesson work
- SatchelOne is the first port of call for all students to find out what to do for each lesson
- Live online lessons will be taught using Microsoft Teams – teachers will provide instructions to students, again through SatchelOne, as to when live lessons will be taking place. These will always be scheduled at ‘normal’ lesson times according to the student’s timetable, but not every lesson will be live.
- All students are expected to attend all live lessons; a register will be taken to monitor attendance.
- Where students are unable to join a live lesson (e.g. due to sharing computer equipment at home), they should contact their teacher via SatchelOne to let them know in advance. Live lessons will be recorded and shared in Teams channels for students to catch up later on if they cannot attend live.
- Tutor time for years 7-11 is taught as one live lesson per week during PSHE period with additional contact between tutor and tutees as required.
- Sixth form tutorials continue via email and Teams (with a minimum of one ‘live’ tutorial out of every two).
Communication channels during remote learning
- Communication channels between teachers and students vary by key stage, and will be communicated separately
- Students should only contact teachers by any means during operational school hours – between 8.30am and 4pm.
- As usual, parental contact should be initially through the appropriate Key Stage administrator.
Ms Jo Pomeroy