This information is intended to provide clarity in when and why remote learning may be offered and provide information about how remote learning will be approached for our pupils given their complex needs.
When might remote learning be offered?
The Covid-19 pandemic has affected the running of all schools and at Dee Banks we have a regularly reviewed risk assessment, detailing a range of control measures and plans to respond to different scenarios, in order to reduce the risk of transmission.
As part of this, pupils and staff may be required to self-isolate for a given period and not attend school. This may result in the isolation of a whole ‘bubble’, a transport (bus or taxi) group or an individual who is defined as a direct contact of someone who has symptoms of coronavirus or has tested positive. It is also acknowledged that this is an ever-changing situation and that the full or partial closure of school may take place as part of the local or national response to the pandemic. In January 2021, Dee Banks School has remained open to any pupil whose family wished to send them.
The remote curriculum: what is taught to pupils at home
Due to the diverse, significant, and complex needs of our pupils, the remote learning opportunities for pupils will be designed and supported on an individual basis. They will be based around each child’s learning needs, as set out in their EHCP (Education, Health and Care Plan) and our curriculum structure.
Our pupils require a high level of adult support to access all aspects of the curriculum and would therefore need the same at home. This may be as part of familiar routines which may not be available in the same way at home. The specialist facilities and equipment in school (e.g. rebound therapy, hydrotherapy pool, outdoor equipment, soft play) which are used to support a significant amount of the curriculum for many pupils, will not be available to them, nor will the ability to access the community so readily. The setting of written or recorded tasks would only be appropriate for a very small number of pupils at Dee Banks and the loss of the school routine and lack of understanding around why this is, makes remote learning a challenge for many.
More positively, the curriculum derived from our pupils needs, as set out in their EHCPs can be carried out in large part, at home. In the event of a pupil/pupil’s being required to self-isolate, teaching staff will work closely with parents/carers to plan for routines, activities and strategies which can be used at home to support the pupil. We acknowledge that these may also be needed, to address the emotional wellbeing of pupils and families and the capacity to manage physical and/or sensory needs as well as supporting additionally identified educational goals. Because of our understanding of our pupil’s needs and abilities, we will not specify how much home learning will be carried out each day. Instead, each family will be supported throughout, to give as much access as is appropriate to learning each day.
Each teacher will contact our families to discuss what they will offer their child in the way of distance learning. We would expect staff to speak with families at least weekly in a pastoral way, to check in and make sure all is well. Beyond this, staff will provide learning opportunities at home in many different ways. This may include:
- Photocopied work packs
- Purple Mash/Class Dojo activities (set online)
- Suggestions of sensory/ practical activities
- Advice around relevant apps, videos and websites
- Loan of specialist equipment
- Contact via remote (video call) sessions/lessons
- Work/activities provided through Evidence for Learning
- Home visits
- Socially distanced walks & play sessions
There is also a dedicated Covid-19 section of the school website providing information and a bank of home-learning resources and links.
Throughout the partial closure of school, staff maintained frequent contact with families in line with multi-agency risk assessments, providing creative and innovative ways to offer support and education remotely. This experience and resulting strong relationships with families, have left us well prepared to provide remote learning at any time should it be required.
Engagement and feedback
We would obviously like our pupils and families to engage in as much of our offer as they can, however we fully understand the huge challenges living with a child with complex needs can bring. We would say therefore, that if what we are suggesting results in a more stressed and less happy household, the families should pick and choose what works for them.
As a school we now use Evidence for Learning, a web-based programme that allows home and school to post and view learning evidence and comment on it. We would encourage all families to use this as a link to school and their child’s learning whether they are at home or in school. Learning objectives can be linked to this evidence and it will inform our termly assessments too. We recognise that some of our families may not have suitable online access at home. If this is the case, parents should let school know and we will be able to provide a basic set-up if it is necessary for learning.
Parental contact will be logged on CPOMs and this will be closely monitored by all the safeguarding team, including the Family Support Worker, Rachel Green.
The Family Support Worker will be monitoring how an isolation period/remote learning has impacted on families and can identify where additional support is needed. There will be close working with class teachers, social care, and health professionals to ensure the right support is provided and this will be monitored. The FSW may also support transition back to school after a period of isolation through liaison with parents, transport, and class teams.
Remote Learning Policy – Link