We are so pleased to be welcoming you back to school this term!
We know that, due to the current circumstances, we will not have as many days in school with you as we would normally have done, but these days will still be helpful in allowing you to check in with your teachers. You will also have support in adapting to the new ways of learning on Microsoft Teams and you will engage in lessons, class discussions and other learning activities.
For those of you who are not able to attend this term, you can still access support through Teams, and by contacting your Head of Year or class teachers as needed. You will also find the lessons that are being accessed in school on Teams.
Whether you are able to attend school this term or not though, we know that a significant amount of your learning activity is still taking place at home. The combination of ‘on site’ (in school) learning and remote learning is called blended learning. We do not know yet as schools how long blended learning will be in place for, but it will definitely be for the remainder of this term.
All of us – teachers, parents and pupils – are working to get used to the idea of blended learning and to identify what makes this work most effectively for you. We know that blended learning definitely works best where there is a combination of approaches and a structure to help you manage your time when you are not in school.
The ‘combination of approaches’ we’re putting in place for you will mean that you can access:
School-based teaching on the days offered for your year group.
Lesson resources (such as PowerPoints and worksheets) on Teams like those you have been using successfully in the time since schools closed.
‘Live’ learning, where you are online with your teacher or tutor and your class. These types of lessons are called ‘synchronous’ lessons, because they take place at a specific time and cannot be accessed outside this time. It will be very important that your parent/ carer has given consent for you to take part in these lessons, which we will be trialled with some classes this half-term.
Recorded lessons. These are also called ‘asynchronous’ lessons, and you can access these at any time. We know that these are particularly helpful -
- if you can’t always access the computer at a specific time, or need to share use of it with other family members. - where you want to work at your own pace throughout the lesson, pausing and repeating as needed. - where it would be useful to re-visit lessons and topics later on, for revision or consolidation of your knowledge and skills, you can do this as many times as you want.
Wherever possible, we will try to offer you this type of lesson.
The teacher support and messaging currently provided on Teams will continue, and you can ask for help whenever needed with recorded or livestreamed lessons, as well as with assignments.
We think that you have done an amazing job in adapting to online learning! No generation of pupils has had to deal with such sudden changes to their ways of learning as you have. Even if you have struggled with some aspects of this, like managing your time, you have still shown resilience, maturity and flexibility in all that you have done so far.
As teachers, we can see that one of the biggest challenges you face is managing your workload and structuring your days in these strange times, and we want to work to support you with this. We want to help you structure your blended learning.
We are therefore putting in place a timetable for the rest of this term, for you to use on any of the days that you are not in school. This timetable will help you manage your work and spread your time evenly across your subjects. It is flexible, because unless a lesson is livestreamed (and if your teacher is doing this, they will tell you well beforehand on Teams!), you can access your lessons at a time of your choice.
This timetable is a suggested structure to help you manage your time. It is up to you to try and follow it, but we understand that some of you may want to change the order of activities, for example you might want to do two English lessons in a row if you are really enjoying them! You may also want to do a particular subject at a time when a parent, carer, brother or sister is able to help you. As long as you cover your lessons, the order of completion isn’t as important, but the timetable will help if you can follow it as closely as possible. We expect you, then, to have completed each week’s learning activities by the Monday of the following week. Your class teachers will follow up incomplete work after this point.
You will soon hear on Teams about how to join in with form group tutorial sessions, which will be an excellent way of linking with your tutor and your friends in your tutorial, and you will also have the option of receiving a phonecall home every couple of weeks while blended learning is in place so that you can have another opportunity for letting us know if you need any support, or telling us how you are.
In the meantime, your timetable is provided below for your information, and can also be found in your year group folder on Teams.
We know that this is still a challenging time, but we are confident that if you do your very best to follow the timetable shown, the lessons, activities and resources that you will have covered will mean that you are in a good position to resume ‘normal’ school-based learning when we are all allowed to do so.
Make sure that you share your timetable with parents/ carers; you could print or copy it out so that you can check how you are doing at the end of the day/ week.
Don’t forget that you can ask for help on Teams as needed and remember that we are proud of you for every bit of effort that you are making to adapt to this new way of working.
With our best wishes to you and your family –