Dear Parents and Carers,
Once again, thank you for the support and understanding you have shown both your children, and school, in relation to remote learning this week. Staff will always attempt to respond to parental queries at the earliest opportunity, through the office email, and this line of communication will remain vital over the coming weeks. Also, thank you so much to those parents who have taken the time to send messages of support and thanks. Those very kind sentiments really do make a difference.
Our updated Remote Learning Policy and Remote Learning Offer to Parents has now been approved by the Governing Body and has already been uploaded onto our school website, in the policies section of ‘About us’ for parents to view. Although the offer itself details how the school will provide remote learning, we’re increasingly aware of requests from some parents for more live sessions to be introduced. While our offer does contain that option, we understand that it’s common place for people to compare Greswold with the choices taken by other local schools in relation to this feature. However, there are some justifiable reasons as to why we have adopted a more considered approach to start with.
At present, Greswold is accommodating 13 different bubbles across the school, with up to 32% of the school’s pupil population attending at any one time, a significant increase from the average of 4% during the first lockdown. With the vast majority of these bubbles requiring at least two members of staff, there are inevitable implications for remote learning. However, the majority of Greswold pupils are still working from home, a key fact that has driven the staff’s determination to devise an approach which best meets the learning and pastoral needs of those home learners.
After sourcing feedback from teachers, and parents, from other local schools undertaking multiple daily live teaching sessions, it is clear that the amount of pupils onsite heavily dictates what can be offered. On any given day at Greswold, a teacher working remotely at home may have to teach a live session for not only their class, but also the class of a colleague who’s having to teach an onsite bubble. This scenario raises the question of how impactful such a session could be for up to 50 pupils.
Indeed, recent guidance highlighting the use of remote learning, published by Ofsted, states ‘live lessons are not always more effective than asynchronous (recorded) approaches’. As senior leaders, we endeavour to strike a balance which accounts for family circumstances, maintains the physical and mental wellbeing of staff, and most importantly, meets the long term needs of a pupil’s education. It’s also pertinent to add that for every parent who requests more live sessions, there’s another who requests more recorded or paper based activities, and even more who feel that the balance is just right, especially families with multiple children, limited devices or working commitments.
Having said that, education is an investment which never stands still, things evolve constantly, and Greswold has always strived to continuously evaluate its provision to meet the changing needs of its community. The review date for both documents is only a couple of months away, a clear indication that school staff are forever looking for ways to improve approaches, systems and provision. Indeed, several year groups are already looking at ways to adapt the daily ‘drop-in’ sessions in accordance with its current usage and impact.
I have so much admiration for the way the staff have ‘pulled together’ since the closure was announced, amid worrying circumstances for themselves and their own families. They have devoted their time and energy above and beyond what’s usually expected of them, in order to generate a sense of comfort, familiarity and purpose for all pupils during these unprecedented times. Personally, I feel extremely grateful to be able to work with such a talented and caring team, on a daily basis.
To conclude, I wanted to feedback on a handful of queries/issues from the past week of remote learning:
Thank you for taking the time to read this update. Take care and stay safe.