Remote Education at Valley Gardens Middle School

As part of our COVID-19 response, Valley Gardens Middle School has prepared systems to enable virtual live lessons and remote learning in the event of pupils having to be sent home to self-isolate or another national lockdown.  In order to ensure the full safety of staff and pupils during these activities, we ask all participants of remote learning; both staff, pupil and parent to read the following:


Outline

Remote learning is a method by which a teacher is able to continue teaching a pupil, or an entire class, using online resources or facilities such as Google Classroom.  Remote learning can consist of ‘self-guided’ lessons, which contain resources, videos and instructions that allow a pupil to independently work though the lesson – or they may take the form of ‘live lessons’ where the teacher interacts with the pupils through video-conferencing technology.

The method preferred by the school is for staff, where possible, to directly teach the lesson via ‘live lessons’.  Such sessions are interactive and children participating are able to ask questions online to deepen their understanding – working with the teacher as they would in a classroom.  Some work will also be delivered via ‘self-guided’ lessons, though children should still be able to contact their teacher and ask for help and feedback via their Google Classroom.

The school recognises that home circumstances will vary between different families, as will access to equipment and the availability of at-home adult support.  Where possible we are happy to support families with access to equipment, particularly laptops and internet access – and you should contact the school if you believe this may be required.

Additionally, we recognise that flexibility and additional support may be required for some pupils to help them cope with the demands of remote learning and parent/carers should contact school if there are any concerns.

Remote learning will take place in the event of children having to be sent home to self-isolate or in the event of a national lockdown;

  • Remote learning will only be delivered by approved staff from Valley Gardens Middle School
  • Remote learning, in particular live lessons, is the preferred method offered by the school, but must be consented to by parent/carers. Parent/carers who are unable or unwilling to access virtual learning should contact the school for alternative support.
  • Pupils and staff will only make use of the software and platforms that has been risk assessed and approved for remote learning by the school.
  • Pupils and staff will only communicate through the approved channels established by the school and at the approved times.
  • Parent/carers should contact the school if they cannot access our remote learning provision and we will explore how to support you, or provide an alternative if needed.

Where to access work:

Upon being required to access remote learning from home, the school offers immediate ‘day one’ access to all needed resources for all pupils online. All remote learning is delivered through the school ‘Realsmart’ platform.  This can be accessed from the school website:  www.valleygardensmiddle.org

Staff and students will need to log in and they should then be able to access the Google Classrooms where work is set and marked.  In the event of a technical difficulty, such as requiring a password reset, the school office should be contacted vgmsoffice@valleygardensmiddle.org

A GUIDE TO BASIC GOOGLE CLASSROOM FUNCTIONS

Instructions for working online

Please download this guide if you need help with how to complete Google Classroom functions such as handing in work.

Parents requiring further technical information or software support should contact the school office to ask for advice and we will be happy to provide it.


Live lesson delivery:

To ensure a fair and balanced delivery of live lessons, the school has opted to offer Live Lessons for the core subjects, English, Maths and Science and also a rotating timetable of subjects based on our two week timetable.  For instance during Week 1, our pupils will have access to live learning in Music lessons and KS3 History alongside their Maths, English and Science.

Week 1
Music
DT
KS3 History
KS3 RE
PE

KS2 Humanities

Week 2
Art
MFL
KS3 Geography
KS3 PHSE
Computing
KS2 PSHE

Curriculum:

During National Lockdown:

For the purposes of remote learning, we are asking our pupils to follow their usual timetable and all lessons will be held at the same time they would normally take place on the school timetable, with the assigned teacher for the lesson taking the class or setting the work. The only exception to this is Project Based Learning, which happens fortnightly on a Wednesday afternoon.  Instead of proceeding with these lessons, this time will be given for catch-up work, reading and for pupils to get a break from screen time and physically exercise when possible.

Whilst schools are open to the majority of pupils and a child has to isolate:

 Our remote learning provision remains consistent whilst school is fully open to all pupils, except that instead of the above – pupils will be added to an ‘isolation classroom’ with work set daily by a member of staff working from within school.

Pupils are only expected to complete the work that has been assigned for that day.  Pupils will receive between 4-5 hours of work a day, dependent on how it is being delivered – this amounts to their full school curriculum.  If a child is finding the work is taking too long or it is becoming overwhelming, we ask parent/carers to exercise their discretion and ask the child to stop, then contact the school to inform us so we can help.

Teacher’s monitor their classes Google Classroom and are responsible for marking work and providing feedback to pupils on a regular basis.  Feedback may take the form of written comments on pieces of work, verbal comments provided during live lessons and quiz results/immediate feedback – for instance from a Google Form.

If parent/carers have any concerns about the work being set or require help, they should either contact the child’s teacher or Head of Year.

Engagement: 

We expect the majority of our pupils to access their remote learning daily and to engage with lessons as they usually would in school. In the event that a pupil is ill or unable to access remote learning on a given day, parent/carers should follow the usual absence recording procedures and inform the school that your child will not complete their work for the day.

We recognise that different families may require different levels of support, and the school is willing to discuss with parent/carers how we can help when there is an issue.

Staff monitor the work being completed on an ongoing basis and where children are not accessing live lessons or completing work, this is passed on through our pastoral team.  If your child is not completing their work or we have a concern, a teacher or your child’s Head of Year will contact you.

Year 5 – Mr Roys – Jonathan.roys@valleygardensmiddle.org

Year 6 – Mr McIntosh – paul.mcintosh@valleygardensmiddle.org

Year 7 – Mrs Ferguson – Karen.ferguson@valleygardensmiddle.org

Year 8 – Mr Wallbank – Neil.wallbank@valleygardensmiddle.org

Your child can also indicate a worry or a concern by completing the “Share and Care” form which appears on the front page of the school website as a tab when they log in.

Behaviour:

We expect pupils to maintain the school’s high standard of behaviour when accessing remote learning, whether in live lessons or completing work in the Google Classroom. Teachers will continue to be responsible for behaviour, and will remove unruly or disruptive pupils from a live learning classroom if necessary.  Teachers will continue to issue demerits for poor behaviour and to follow the school’s pastoral procedures where appropriate.

If a pupil is concerned about the behaviour of a peer they should contact the teacher who took the class or their Head of Year so it can be investigated.

For the safety of all pupils and staff we also ask the following conduct be followed during live lessons:

Agreed Conduct for live lessons (PARENT VERSION)

  • Only the pupil should be visible or audible during the lesson, other members of the household should not interact with the class. Pupils should wear headphones for GDPR reasons whilst taking part in a ‘live lesson’.
  • Parent/carers should be aware that virtual learning is taking place and ensure they have given consent for this to happen
  • The device used for the lesson should be, where practical, in an area of the house where it is conducive to work, but not isolated (try to use a quiet room downstairs if possible)
  • The background should be as neutral as feasibly possible and personal information should be protected (photos of family members should be removed for example)
  • Pupils and staff will both be dressed appropriately. For the pupils this should be the same way as they would on a non-uniform day in school
  • Normal school rules apply, be sensible, kind and respectful.
  • Sessions will be recorded
  • Please remind your children that all sessions are recorded and that the expectation of behaviour on a call are the same as they would be in a classroom. In the unlikely event that a pupil is being disruptive to the learning of others, they will be muted, or removed from the virtual classroom and we will contact you directly to let you know our concerns.  Inappropriate behaviour will continue to be logged and recorded on our school systems and teachers can still issue demerits via our epraise system.
  • Pupils should not use nicknames on Microsoft Teams, or if they are using a parent/carers account – try to change the name, or identify themselves early in the session so that the teacher is aware of who they are.
  • The chat function on Microsoft Teams is for educational purposes only, and should only be used if directed by the teacher.
  • If a pupil has a concern about something that has happened in a remote learning session involving something a peer has said or done, they should contact their class teacher who will review the recording, or the chat log, if needed and take appropriate action.

AGREED CONDUCT FOR LIVE LESSONS – (Child Version) :

  • You should be the only person from your home that can be seen or heard in a live lesson.[1]
  • When taking part in a live lesson you should wear headphones. This makes it safer for everyone.
  • You should be dressed appropriately[2] and be ready to learn.
  • You should try to have a neutral or blurred background behind you when you are visible.[3]
  • When you start the lesson, mute your microphone and don’t write anything in any chat boxes, until a teacher has told you to start
  • If a teacher asks you to put on your camera for a moment to check you are present and that you are okay – please do so.
  • You should show kindness and respect at all times. Rude or unacceptable behaviour in class will result in you being removed from the classroom and your parents being contacted.  Teachers will still give out epraise points and demerits for good/bad behaviour.
  • All the sessions are recorded for your safety and you must not make any of your own recordings.
  • You must not use nicknames or a fake name whilst using remote learning.
  • If something happens that you are worried about, you should contact your teacher or get your parents to contact the school. You can also use the Share and Care form on your homepage to bring up a worry.[4]
  • You should leave a virtual classroom if there is no teacher or responsible adult inside.
  • Online safety is very important. You must only use the websites that your teacher directs you to and you must not share any information about your learning with anyone else online outside of your class.

[1] It is polite to remind other people in your house that you are in a virtual lesson so they don’t forget and accidentally wander into the background or shout something embarrassing in the house that they wouldn’t want your classmates to hear. If this does happen, let your teacher know and they will help.

[2] You don’t have to wear school uniform when working from home, but you should wear clothing that is appropriate to wear online and be seen by others.  For instance, you shouldn’t be wearing pyjamas.

[3]  Remember other people might be able to see what is in your background, so avoid photos of family members and personal items where possible. You can blur your background on Google Meet and Microsoft Teams.

[4] If your parent/carer needs to talk to a teacher – please ask them not to do this during a live lesson. They should contact the school office or your teacher outside of the lesson time.

Safeguarding

Staff and pupils will abide by the school code-of-conduct at all times and all virtual lessons will be recorded.  This recording will not be shared with any outside third parties and will not be used by the school at a later date without the consent of any participants filmed during the recording, except for safeguarding or child protection reasons.  The school will take all appropriate measures to protect all personal data in line with GDPR such as following data retention procedures.

Staff and pupils will only communicate via valid school email accounts, Google Classroom and in-lesson video conferencing technology and aim to only communicate during school hours for the purposes of virtual learning.  Staff and pupils are advised not to share any personal information during virtual learning sessions..

If a parent/carer, pupil or member of staff becomes aware of, or has a safeguarding concern during a virtual lesson they must report it to the schools safeguarding lead:

Designated Safeguarding Lead:  Matthew.hope@valleygardensmiddle.org

Data Protection (GDPR) and Consent

Provision of remote learning is a legal requirement set out in UK law – as such the school has a legal obligation to offer online access and any online data processed within our remote classroom is done so in line with GDPR under legal obligation.  The school has already run through Data Protection checks for all of the online platforms we use for delivery including; Realsmart, Google Meet, Google Classroom & Microsoft Teams.  Privacy Notices for these services can also be obtained separately.

For the provision of live-learning, the school offers access to live learning for all learners and we have asked for consent to be provided by parent/carers.  Our live learning sessions are recorded for Safeguarding and Quality Assurance Purposes and the school retains the recordings for up-to 30 days after which they are deleted (unless consent for longer term archival usage has been given.) Recordings will not be shared with any third parties, except under required legal process and are stored securely with access only available by authorised staff.

If you wish to withdraw consent for live-learning or have any queries around data-protection please contact: matthew.hope@valleygardensmiddle.org

Please download our informed consent statement for further information:

Informed Consent For Live Learning