I hope that this latest blog finds you safe and well. We are now some weeks into the new reality and there’s no doubt that it is proving to be a very challenging time.
In order to provide a more realistic learning experience for our students, we are currently exploring the possibility of providing some virtual lessons through Microsoft Teams. If successful, the use of this software should give students live virtual access to their usual class teacher (and their classmates) for some carefully selected lessons. In order for us to be able to see whether the use of this software is successful with whole classes, we are trying this out initially with a small number of Year 10 groups. If one of your child’s teachers is involved, they will provide a specific time for your child to join the lesson and we strongly encourage them to participate if at all possible.
Of course, we recognise that every family has different circumstances and we are aware that there is sometimes only one computer in the house. If parents are working from home, a child may not be able to log in to a lesson at the allocated time. Each virtual lesson will therefore be recorded so that students in this position can watch the whole thing at a different time. In addition, Microsoft Teams works on tablets and mobile ‘phones.
What we don’t want to do is to create inequality, with some students able to access the virtual lessons and some not able to do so. If your child is unable to access the virtual lessons, do let us know via the firstname.lastname@example.org email address. You can also provide any constructive feedback you may have on how the technology worked for your child through this channel. If all goes well with this trial, we will be expanding the number of virtual lessons, but please note that these will be limited – to deliver all lessons in this way would be impractical.
We are trialling this use of virtual lessons with Year 10 partly because we are concerned that while most students are working hard and making progress, some Year 10 students have not been engaging fully with the work set via other distance learning methods. I must remind this small number of students that this is a crucial year – in all likelihood they will be returning to school with less than a year to go before they sit their first Key Stage 4 exam and they really do need to engage with the work.
As I have said in previous blogs, we recognise the challenges of keeping students motivated at this difficult time, regardless of what year group they are in. As long as students are engaging with the work, they will make progress – but engagement will look different in every household. If you have any concerns about your child’s engagement with the work, do contact us on the email@example.com email address and we will respond. We can provide support and advice to help you to sustain your child’s motivation through these difficult times.