You’re finally back in school with colleagues and children but for a possibly uncertain amount of time – how do you make the most of this valuable period? In this blog post London CLC’s Peter Lillington sets out five priorities subject leaders need to consider as you prepare for blended learning.
- Our New to subject leadership in primary computing remote programme starts on 6 October and covers curriculum planning, tools and resources, methods for supporting colleagues and progression and assessment. Find out more
- Build on your successes in delivering remote learning
Have you recognised and celebrated these with colleagues? Are there points you and colleagues want to develop and improve? Now could be the right time to action some of those if possible. Remember though, not all of those points may be of equal importance so plan and prioritise – there may be more things that are urgent, necessary and essential than can actually fit within your working day, never mind about other desirable, interesting or worthwhile categories… Your class, let alone your family or colleagues can’t afford for you to over-extend yourself. We are still in a crisis period.
2. DfE contingency plan – a deadline among many
If you’re not already involved in discussion about your school’s remote learning plan (see last week’s blog post), which is expected to be in place by end of September, it will be important to liaise with your senior leadership team about how digital technologies will support learning and communication whatever situation your school faces.
The situation may continue to evolve over the coming period, so we’d paraphrase and add: ‘expected to be in place at least in draft format’ – though that’s not what the DfE say.
3. Practice while you can – valuable time with the children now
Use in-school time with technology, whether in the classroom, hall or ICT suite if you have one, to make sure children and teachers understand systems, tools and routines. You might incorporate or model some of the remote tools into regular or specific use in class even if only on the teacher’s screen or whiteboard to confirm successful strategies and tease out difficulties.
As more detail about actual experience comes to light you may well get further insight about necessary accommodations to the curriculum, whether for a subject such as computing as part of a broad and balanced offering, or more generally if you have instances of disadvantage.
It’s quite likely that for some children, opportunities and experiences will have been beneficial for developing computing knowledge and skills, and they’ll have had a chance to do all sorts of creative and interesting things – but at the other end of the spectrum some children may have had little or no access to devices and platforms, or had unfruitful or even upsetting experiences.
If you get the chance, check in with colleagues about their perceptions of needs and what their classes were able to undertake.
4. Health and safety, safeguarding – up to date?
Meet with your safeguarding lead to be sure that you have already addressed, or have actions in place to address KCSIE 2020 mentions of ‘online’ – go through Annex C with a fine tooth comb and think about all the implications in different scenarios – in school, out of school – both for children and families, but also for staff in the current circumstances.
You may also need to remind the community about key online safety messages. It may be an idea to put in place some online safety discussions in class alongside any existing planned units or sequences of lessons.
Ofsted and DfE will expect this element to be up front and explicit in the plan referred to in point 2.
Also make sure that all staff are prepared for handling disclosures that might emerge, possibly further down the line if not immediately, about children’s experiences during lockdown.
Every school has measures in place to be Covid secure but there may be some details not yet organised with regard to specific equipment.
5. Develop staff and community skills and knowledge
Find out from your staff, and community too, if possible, what development needs they may have around using platforms and tools, building on what they’ve discovered, experimented with or mastered. Find a way to continue to share new ideas and skills, even short hints and tips, especially if you have new members of staff or those returning after a period of absence.
- We’re providing practical as well as strategic help for all these issues through our new Blended approach. Over the coming weeks you will see our CPD, events and free resources reflect this ‘new normal’.