Remote learning – Updated DfE guidance

Have you seen the new guidance about remote learning?

Schools and students had to adapt quickly to remote learning when the Covid-19 pandemic hit. It was a steep learning curve for us all to make sure our networks, devices and workspaces were able to handle this new way of working and learning at home. Adjusting to the changes that remote learning brought us, meant there were plenty of teething problems schools had to overcome.

remote learning

We worked with a number of schools helping them transition to a robust and reliable school broadband connection. Alongside this, we provided additional cloud services to really bring their remote learning environment into full force!

With the industrial action for strikes planned for February and March, remote learning is back on schools’ radars as a contingency plan. This week, the Department for Education (DfE) published updated non-statutory guidance for schools about remote learning.

Stay up to date

This guidance was first published during the Covid-19 pandemic, when schools were closed for most students. However, the focus has quickly shifted back to the option of remote learning ahead of the planned strikes, where schools might face full or partial closures.

It recognises that ‘remote education should only ever be considered as a last resort’ and ‘should not be viewed as an equal alternative attendance in school’. But it’s important to be prepared so students can keep on track with their education and stay connected with their teachers.

It’s likely that schools will already have alternative education plans in place, but they also need to keep them up to date. Consider what worked well for your school last time, and if there were any areas that could have worked better.

Share your remote learning plans

Schools should try and work to help their students overcome any barriers to be able to work from home with minimal disruption. Try and communicate to parents, carers and staff your remote plans as early as possible so they know what to expect and to prepare.

Consider adding content or learning resources to your school’s website. This can be helpful for parents or carers to access when needed.

Internet connections, environment and devices

There can be a number of challenges with remote learning. Some of the problems student can face are:

  • Access to devices. While many schools overcame issues with device access during the pandemic, there are still students who don’t have access to devices to learn remotely at home.
  • Device suitability. Even if a student has access to a device at home, it doesn’t necessarily guarantee access to remote education. Lots of people use mobile phones or tablets to access the internet instead of laptops or PCs. However, these are generally regarded as a poorer tool for home learning.
  • Device sharing. Students may have to share their devices with parents or siblings. Scheduled live lessons can be problematic if it clashes with a sibling also trying to attend online lessons or a parent using it to work remotely.
  • Availability of support. Parents or carers may have had to make alternative arrangements while their children are at home. Working remotely or having someone else watch their child can impact their availability in supporting online learning.
  • Poor quality or no internet connection. While Coconnect can help provide your school with safe and reliable broadband for your school, not everyone has access to this at home.
  • Home learning environment. Children’s home learning environments can be dramatically different from the classroom. They might not have a suitable place they can study, or access to devices to enable them to easily attend online classes.
  • Age. Due to the activity based nature of early education, it’s much harder to try and teach younger age groups when they’re at home. They probably don’t have the same resources available at home.

How can we help your school?

Although remote learning is a temporary solution, it’s important to have these contingency plans in place so they’re easy to adopt quickly if needed.

If your school broadband is struggling, then we can help! We’re a specialist provider of broadband and cloud services designed especially for education. We’d love to discuss any solutions to help your school move into a remote learning environment.

Just get in touch with us – we’ll give you honest and unbiased advice about what solutions could work for you.

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