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Letter From The Principal, Regarding The New Remote Learning System - 18 January 2021

Our Ref: AJC/MS

18 January 2021

Dear Parents/Carers

Re: Remote Learning – Early Experiences

I wanted to write to you to say how proud I am of the children since the move to lockdown. I know that it must be very strange for the children - some of you have had to stay and learn at home, while others are learning in school. I also just wanted to give a very brief overview of our first few days with our new remote learning system, Microsoft T eams.

Firstly, can I thank you for your very positive support so far. We have had lots of generous comments from parents and children, saying how useful they are finding the system and how it is much more accessible than Frog.

However, we are aware that there have been a few teething problems, which is to be expected. Please be patient with us. It is a new system for us all and we are holding regular training sessions for staff to iron out the wrinkles as and when they appear. We have already addressed most issues but will continue to work on supporting you with any problems you are finding.

Can I just remind everyone that there are a series of video guides and help sheets on the website under the new tab, Microsoft Office. Please head there initially, as when directed, most parents are finding that their queries can be answered from this information.

What do we expect of the children?

There is an expectation that if a child is not attending school, they must engage with remote learning. This is our expectation and that of the national government.

As a general rule, the government state that this should be approximately 3 hours for KS1 children and less for younger children; and approximately 4 hours for KS2 children.

Though we would like children to try and stick to the normal structure of the day, we do appreciate that this can be very hard, when at home, especially, if you have more than one child. Therefore, if work is completed at a different time to normal, that is absolutely fine. We also appreciate that where a parent is also working from home, it will not always be convenient to help a child at a designated time, when later in the day might be easier for you. This is all fine.

Assignments will be set on a daily basis and it is expected that these assignments are completed and sent to the teacher.

Where sessions are live, it is expected that children will observe the same behaviour expectations that are expected in school. This is outlined in more detail in our on-line Code of Conduct, which can be found on the website. Any pupil who is not upholding the highest standards of behaviour during live sessions, will simply be removed by the teacher. Equally, if a child is found to be misusing any feature of the Microsoft package, they will have their log-in rights withdrawn.

I must stress that any material put on Teams, including photos, videos of staff teaching or resources must not be published by children or parents on any other platform, including social media sites. If this is not adhered to, that child’s account is likely to be permanently deleted. It is crucial that teachers’ privacy is protected at all times.

We know that on the odd occasion, it might be difficult and that the laptop; phone; iPad or tablet might not always work. Sometimes children might miss a live lesson because parents, brothers or sisters need the device at the same time. This is all ok and you shouldn’t worry. We know you are trying your best!

What can you expect from us?

We will ensure that there is appropriate work in place for the children on a daily basis. This will normally, though not necessary always, be uploaded early in the morning before school starts for that current day. This will prevent some ‘eager’ children from doing their work the night before. It will also mean that children won’t be receiving ‘alerts’ late at night, when teachers are preparing their work.

We are moving towards putting in place, regular opportunities, for teachers to conduct live sessions. This might be a check-in early in the morning; it might include an element of live teaching; it could be a catch-up session; or it could be a live story time slot. Over time, we hope to build this up so there are more opportunities for live interaction throughout the week.

However, again, we do appreciate that not all pupils will always be able to join every session, where you have siblings. It is simply not possible to schedule all meetings at different times to accommodate all siblings, as there are so many children with brothers and sisters. Therefore, we ask pupils to balance this out and attend every session they can. Where they cannot attend a session, the work will always be there for them to do anyway.

Equally, this will vary from day to day, depending on whether staff are teaching classes in school.

For example, you might find that one sibling has a series of live sessions over a few given days but your other sibling might not and they might receive them on different days. This might be because your other child’s teacher is delivering sessions in school. This will balance out over time. Sometimes, teachers will try and teach the children on- line at the same time as teaching their class in school!

Staff will feedback as often as they can, particularly for Maths and English work, which is likely to be a more regular comment. However, staff will not be expected to make a comment on every piece of work, as this is simply not practical and there are not enough hours in the day! A general overview comment will be given at some point throughout the week for wider curriculum subjects and sometimes, general feedback will be given orally during live sessions.

In addition, staff will respond to comments in the chat facility, when they are able to do so. Please bear in mind that all staff are teaching classes in schools at different points throughout the week, as well as preparing work for on-line learning - which takes much longer to prepare. I know that you will be understanding of this.

I can assure you that staff will do everything they can to support children in receiving as close to a normal education, as is possible, during these challenging times.

If you do have any general questions about Teams and would like to speak to your child’s class teacher, please email enquiries@pilgrimacademy.co.uk leaving your child’s name, class and an outline of your query.

Thank you all again for your continuing support. Yours faithfully

Mr A J Clark
Principal

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