A Message from Mrs Johnson

I would like to thank you all personally for the positive and enthusiastic response we have had to our live teaching offer. Engagement levels have been extremely high and we have received some fantastic feedback from parents, which really is welcomed as this has been a challenging process to put in place and deliver. I am aware that all parents will have a different experience with home learning due to varying home situations and commitments and I want to express that you are doing an excellent job. Take time to pat yourself on the back and remember you are doing the best you can to support your children in extraordinary circumstances.

I would also like to say how proud I am of our staff in school who are working harder than ever to provide children with quality learning opportunities both at home and in school. Only two weeks ago we heard Boris’ announcement and suddenly staff’s roles have completely changed! In just two weeks, they have taken on new training, set up and delivered live lessons and provided ongoing support, which I think is an incredible achievement. This has been and will continue to be an extremely challenging time for all staff but they have risen to this and are working as hard as they possibly can to support the pupils and parents of St Alban’s School. We thank you for your continued understanding and patience when technology can unfortunately let us down at times: please remember that teachers and teaching assistants are doing the best they can.

As we continue to assess and improve our home learning provision, we have listened to parents and staff feedback to bring some changes to your attention as well as some useful advice:

  • Our school will provide a blended approach to home learning. We will offer two live sessions a day through MS Teams: one in the morning and one in the afternoon (except on Wednesdays when there will only be a morning session). These will be staggered by phases to allow families with more than one pupil to access live teaching whilst sharing a device. The live sessions will include chances for social interactions, teaching input, feedback and questions and answers about tasks. We will also provide pre-recorded teaching input along with links to other teaching resources such as Oak National academy which families can access at times that suit them.
  • From next week, all resources will be made available on Microsoft Teams under the ‘files’ section in the ‘General’ channel in each Year group’s team. Work will no longer be added to the school website. This is for a variety of reasons, the main one being that the resources will be stored in a private, secure space within MS Teams – this is especially important with staff providing pre-recorded videos of themselves teaching. Please explain this change to your child so that they know where to access the resources from Monday. (A video will be posted on dojo to show you where to find the resources for next week onwards.)
  • Work will be organised by day rather than subject to further help parents and children see the work they will need to access each day.
  • When accessing files through Teams, it is important that children do not edit or delete the files as others will need to access them as well. If children do wish to complete certain tasks by editing documents, they should first download the file and save it to their own devices.
  • We are asking teachers to only respond to Dojo messages in work hours. Teachers are working incredibly hard to support parents and children but they also need to be able to spend times with their families when not at work. We ask that parents consider this when they contact staff through Class Dojo.
  • We need to make it clear that ONLY children should be posting on Microsoft teams live lessons and not Parents. Chat functions are disabled most of the time however, when it is accessible, chat functions should always be used appropriately. Parents can of course assist children with this but, if parents would like to ask their own questions, please do this through a direct Dojo message to teachers.
  • Assignments: whilst teachers will set a range of tasks each day, they will specifically request that certain tasks be completed as an ‘assignment’. These ‘assignments’ will be tasks that the teacher will ask the children to complete and submit in order to give the teachers chance to offer constructive feedback. The assignments may be submitted in a variety of ways such as Class Dojo Portfolios, Century (KS2 pupils only) or over MS Teams. The teacher will specify how the assignment can be completed and submitted. The feedback provided will relate to individual and group development areas and could be in the form of verbal feedback through the live sessions or a comment on the work.
  • Quality of tasks: We ask that parents remind children to consider the quality of their work. We have been amazed at the quality of the majority of assignments/tasks that have been submitted and it is clear to see that children have really given a lot of thought and consideration to some of their work as they would normally do in school. There has been the rare occasion that work submitted by some children does not reflect their best efforts that are usually seen in school. Therefore, we ask that parents remind children that they should put the same effort into most of their tasks as they would if they were completing them in school.
  •  Printing: We are aware that many parents choose to print resources for their children to access when taking part in home learning. This is great if it supports your child in working at home however, we would like to make it clear that there is no expectation from school for parents to print work out; home learning tasks are designed so that children can see tasks on a screen and complete their work on a plain or lined piece of paper so please do not feel that you absolutely have to print resources if this is a struggle. Finally, I would like to thank all of our parents yet again for the way you have helped your children and the school adapt to remote learning. We understand the pressures that you are all facing and want to support you as much as we possibly can. We are all in this together and remember: you are doing an amazing job! As always, please contact school if you need any support and we will do our best to help.

Mrs Johnson

Acting Head Teacher