We have been working hard on a number of fronts this term, but providing online learning for our students that most closely matches the experience they would get in school (accepting that whatever we do provide wouldn’t be as good as face-to-face learning with their teacher) has been our main priority.
After just two weeks of home learning we are increasingly aware of the range of practical challenges that this presents to staff, students and their families, and we are regularly reviewing and amending our systems to provide the best experience we can, to as many students as possible. Your support in making this happen is essential and greatly appreciated.
The overwhelming majority of students have accessed and engaged with their learning in all lessons so far, however we are finding that most of the students who have not always accessed remote learning consistently fall into three categories, which I have detailed below.
Students who are struggling to engage with online lessons
On the first day, we had around 180 students who did not attend online lessons and we have contacted every parent to find out the reason for this. In a number of cases there were technology issues either relating to the device or problems with access to wifi. The ICT team have worked exceptionally hard to work with families and liaise with the Department for Education to resolve these issues wherever possible. We are confident that in the vast majority of cases a solution has been implemented or will be available shortly. If you have any technology related queries please email our ICT team on firstname.lastname@example.org.
I understand this is an exceptionally difficult time for many students and their families for a whole variety of reasons. Some students have found it difficult to engage with the live learning for ‘non-technology’ reasons and we are keen to support individuals as best we can. Mrs Parker’s role in school, as Student Support Co-ordinator, is to work with students and families to co-ordinate support where required, helping to remove any barriers to accessing Zoom lessons.
If your child will not be attending on a particular day, could you please follow the normal protocols and inform our attendance team of the reason for your child’s absence. The easiest way to do this is either by emailing email@example.com or via the Edulink App. If we have not heard from you and your child is absent from online lessons during registration and period 1, you will get an automated telephone message informing you of this.
Students who attend some online lessons but not others
Some students attend lessons in the morning but then don’t always attend lessons later in the day. Whilst there isn’t an automated system that we can use to alert you of an absence later in the day, our attendance team are working on this manually and where we feel students are not attending lessons consistently throughout the day, you will initially receive an email informing you of this. We are providing additional information which will make you aware of any potential attendance concerns and this is detailed at the end of this letter.
Students who attend online lessons but do not engage effectively with the work set
Some students attend the lessons as required and so are marked present, but then don’t return to lesson when this requested or don’t appear to be engaging effectively with the work set. Initially you should receive an email from your child’s subject teacher, but if this appears to be an issue across a range of subjects, you will be contacted by Mrs Parker (Student Support Co-ordinator) or a member of our pastoral team, to discuss any problems that may be preventing your child from engaging effectively with the work set.
I am sure you understand that managing attendance online in this way is a real challenge and certainly not an easy task for class teachers who will need to use a single device for a whole range of reasons during a lesson, including taking a register. However, we have asked all teachers to do this for each lesson in order to support you ensuring your child is accessing lessons in the manner in which we all expect. Recording attendance in this way in this way is not a government requirement as students are officially recorded as an ‘X’, which means that students are not required in school, however we believe this is an an effective way of supporting your child and keeping you informed.
Under normal circumstances, if a student is missing from a lesson in school, there are clear safeguarding issues for us. However, given that students are working remotely and we do not know where they are learning from, absence from a lesson does not present the same level of concern for us. Whilst in an ideal world this is something we could follow up, given the current situation this is not possible to do so in a timely manner. However, we are keen that parents get a clear picture of their child’s attendance at these online lessons.
As such, from today, you are able to see your child’s attendance in Edulink. The only way for us to do this is to give you ‘live’ access to this data, but I would ask that you do not consider the data in real time and expect it to be immediately up-to-date. The current day’s lesson by lesson attendance is visible under the ‘Attendance’ tab in Edulink and we encourage you to discuss this with your child if there are unexpected absences. At this time Edulink cannot present previous days’ lesson by lesson attendance. If you have any concerns please contact our attendance team in the first instance on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, we greatly appreciate your support and understanding in recognising the huge logistical challenge we currently face to not only deliver live lessons but also help to ensure, with parental support, all students positively engage with home learning. If you have any questions regarding this letter, or indeed anything else that is causing you concern at this time, please contact the appropriate person in school. Should you wish, I am more than happy for you contact me directly on email@example.com.