Update includes plans Yr 10 & 12, changes to the site and using Microsoft Teams
Firstly, I hope you and your families had a restful break over the half term.
For the students and staff that were in over the holiday we tried to make our activities a little more fun and so I hope they felt they got at least a little break from College. As ever, those students have been a real credit to you, the College and our Community with many of those students having now been at school, without a day off, since February half term. Despite this, and our continual nagging about washing hands, social distancing and my favourite question about what “asymptomatic” means, they have been thoroughly good natured, great fun to be around, behaved in a very respectful way and engaged in the activities really well even when it has meant it is time for quiet school work. My thanks to those students.
This update consists of information concerning:
- the planning of the face to face sessions for Year 10 and Year 12 students as the Government expects us to provide from the 15thJune
- our ongoing work with Microsoft Teams and the progress we are making towards delivering sessions in a more blended way using both Class Charts and Microsoft Teams to deliver a more dynamic and personalised experience for the students.
1.Face to face sessions
Detailed planning for sessions with our Year 10 and Year 12 students has been going well following the Government announcement before half term. As I said in my last update before the holiday, we welcome the chance to have students back in College and have constructed plans which will both deliver sessions as safely as we possibly can, but also provide sessions which are of an educational benefit to our students. Our plans are currently being discussed with staff to make sure all of our risk assessments are appropriate and provide the appropriate mitigations to keep everyone safe.
As you can see from the pictures, we have also been readying the site to accept more students back to the College. These plans include staggered start times, separate entrances and exits for different groups, arrangements for queueing, one way systems, access to toilets, new fire escape routes and muster points, hand sanitiser stations in every block and many classrooms, only 5-8 desks in each classroom, fencing around the site which prevents the mixing of different groups of students, cleaning regimes during and at the end of each day, First Aid arrangements as well as a range of other issues which we have considered and addressed.
As I say, we are currently reviewing those plans with our staff so that they can help us to fine tune the arrangements. These discussions and the site modifications will be complete in the next week or so. Presuming all goes to plan, on the 8thJune parents and carers of Year 10 and Year 12 students will receive an individual letter electronically from the College explaining when and where your child should go to receive their sessions. Subject to confirmation following discussions with the staff and any Government announcements, we are intending to focus on two-hour sessions for English, Mathematics and Science in the first 12 days followed by sessions for other subjects after that point.
If you don’t receive the letter by email on the 8thJune please contact Reception who will be able to provide the relevant details. In preparation for students we will also be sending out a Powerpoint for you to view prior to sending your child back into College, as well as a declaration form stating that neither your family or your child is suffering from symptoms of Covid.
We have also developed a protocol, that will shortly go live on our website, which we would like parents and carers to also read to ensure children, families and our community are kept as safe as possible as we increase the number of people on our campus. For students travelling in on school transport arrangements will be made to supervise these children for the day so they can still access sessions.
2.Microsoft Teams and 'blended learning'
Over the next few weeks staff will be introducing meetings with students using Microsoft Teams. We have spent considerable time making sure this is a safe and secure platform for staff and students. We will be starting with some time for your child to meet with their tutor and then introducing some subject based meetings. These will be group sessions and not one-to-one interviews.
A meeting will not be a whole lesson but an opportunity for the teacher to focus on a particular part of the remote learning sequence - for example explaining a new concept, modelling a skill or asking students to demonstrate their understanding of the topic so far. It is therefore important that students are familiar with the work that has been set on Class Charts.
Please note the following information to make sure that all meetings are safe and productive:
- We would recommend downloading the Teams App, as this provides a greater range of functionality.
- Staff will try and alert students/parents/carers to forthcoming meetings via the announcements section on Class Charts.
- Invitations to meetings will only be issued through Teams and using the students’ College accounts. We will not use Zoom or personal email addresses.
- To join a meeting students can:
- Join via the email invitation the teacher will send
- Join by going to the Teams tile in RM Unify and finding the meeting in the calendar section.
- Join by opening the Teams App and finding the meeting in the calendar section.
- Students using Teams to meet with staff are subject to the conditions of the Acceptable Use Policy they will have signed to gain access to the College network. We will take strong action against any student who misuses the meeting environment.
- We would also expect the same levels of courtesy and engagement from students as we would in a normal classroom setting.
- For safeguarding purposes, we would ask that all meetings take place in a downstairs/living area and not in students’ bedrooms. It is also important that students are dressed appropriately. No other family members should join the meetings. We would also ask families to be mindful of what is on display in the background.
- Students will have limited access to the functions In Teams. They will be able to join a meeting, but not set up meetings. They can join whole class chat but not privately message one another. Any chat is recorded within Teams.
- If a teacher feels the guidelines are being breached, they will close the meeting immediately and refer the incident to a senior member of staff.
- With the emergence of face to face sessions for Year 10 and Year 12 sessions we will focus Teams work on Key stage 3 students.
Remote Learning – Class Charts
We have been very grateful for feedback from parents/carers over the last half term. This half term we are developing the work we are setting in Class Charts by trying to locate each task within a framework of learning. We have asked staff to use the following terminology when setting work.
At the start of a new piece of learning, teachers will ask students to think about what they already know or give an activity to stimulate their curiosity.
This is where the teacher will give a clear explanation of the new material to be learned. This may be a narrated PowerPoint, an extract of a text book to read or a video to watch.
Students will be given an opportunity to process and use the new material – through exercises, practice questions, online quizzes etc
Students will be asked to demonstrate their understanding of the new material – this may be through submitting a piece of work, completing a quiz or undertaking a self assessment.
Two or three weeks after the initial sequence, staff may revisit a certain topic to check how embedded the learning is.
When providing sessions in Teams, teachers may focus specifically on one of these areas.
We hope Teams will offer an extra dimension to our online provision. We do recognise that some students may struggle to access this, and we will do our best to ensure the relevant information is passed on if a student is unable to attend a Teams meeting. Please let your child’s subject teacher know if this is the case.
Thank you for your patience with both developments. However, as you would expect our primary concern is to keep our students safe for the sake of everyone and so it is important that the correct protocols are put in place behind the scenes.
Finally, once again thank you for your continued support. Both in and out of College, our students and your children, while enjoying a bit more freedom are making us very proud with their efforts to behave respectfully and responsibly, particularly with regard to social distancing which we know is really difficult for them. Students continue to amaze us with their levels of engagement and the work they are producing. I very much hope that both the Face to Face sessions and Teams meetings, while not able to replace “normal” College enhances our provision, help students to engage in their studies.
As ever if you have any concerns, whatsoever with our provision or you feel your child needs extra support either academically or emotionally please do not hesitate to get in touch with the College through our website which has the contact details for tutors, subject leaders and Heads of Year.