Remote Learning Strategy at Gosforth Academy

Updated September 2021

Remote Learning and Study Time Each Day

Since the first lockdown in March 2020, we have aimed to focus on the key elements of our delivery that have helped to provide success for our students in the past. Namely, that we provide high quality work, maximise engagement and provide effective feedback to students that develops their understanding of the subjects they are studying. This is the minimum expectation we continue to have for ourselves and our students.

We continue to implement our high quality remote education, when needed, to ensure it meets the following essential requirements:

  • Flexibility for all those involved, allowing students to focus study time with live lessons, personal study and other delivery methods.
  • A variety of teaching methods used, keeping true to our principles.
  • Reliability of provision delivered by teachers and accessed by students building structure and routine.
  • Equity of access for all students in our care.

Where a class, group of pupils, or individual pupils need to self-isolate, or there are local or national restrictions requiring pupils to remain at home, we expect to continue to deliver our usual curriculum remotely, in the same way as we do in school, wherever possible. Clearly the methods of delivery will be very different, but a broad and balanced curriculum is central to what we do. Where this is not possible or not appropriate, such as in some subjects where practical skills require equipment or facilities for them to be developed, our subject leaders will adjust sequencing suitably.

We will continue to provide remote education that is equivalent in length to the core teaching that pupils would receive in school. This would mean, as a minimum, students in Key Stage 3 and 4 would receive the equivalent of five hours of remote education per day. Although Key Stage 5 is not included in this requirement, we will provide them with remote education that is equivalent to their usual study programme. Please see the link to this guidance below.

Please understand that the productivity of different students working at home can vary, and also in terms of how quickly the same student works from one day to the next. By delivering the remote learning expectations outlined above, teachers will attempt to provide a suitable quantity of work for students in their classes. Please get in contact with class teachers where there appears to be too much work or where additional tasks are required.

Accessing Remote Education

We use Frog, our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), to set assignments for our students. They should check this on a daily basis, as well as their school e-mail address. Invitations to live lessons that take place will come through this, and it is also a useful way to contact teachers to seek clarification or to submit work where this is requested. To access Frog, all you need is internet access. There is also a Frog App that students can use on their phone.

Departments across the school have successfully developed the use of live lessons as one of many important strategies used to teach students remotely. Throughout, we have followed the available guidance and prevailing circumstances to ensure this is done safely for all those involved and will continue to do so. It has been trialled and used successfully in school, and provided a safe and effective learning experience for our students. We use Teams to deliver live lessons, with all such lessons being linked to students’ school e-mail addresses.

Prior to participating in live lessons, students have been made aware of the behaviour expectations that they should continue to adhere to and the guidelines to follow to ensure a safe learning experience, by agreeing to the terms set out in the Acceptable Use Agreement.

Live lessons via Teams are intended solely for students within a class and, as would be normal practice in a classroom setting, it would not be deemed appropriate for parents or students from other classes to view or comment upon a lesson that is delivered remotely.

All Year 11 students will receive Revision Guides for some of their subjects and there are also a number of websites that provide resources to supplement the teaching that has been provided on Frog. Some examples of these include Oak Academy and the BBC Bitesize who are offering educational lessons and resources for secondary school students. The following links are some other examples of what is available:

We have, and will continue to engage with the Government schemes that are available to support families where digital or online access becomes an issue. Please get in touch with class teachers, pastoral staff or Ms Stanley if this is the case, as they may be able to help. This support also includes Sixth Form students.

Students should make contact with their teachers using their school email account if they need any further and more directive support. 

Our provision has developed significantly during the previous academic year and we will continue to ensure that it is the most suitable it can be for the students we serve. This will include monitoring of its use and impacts through the views of staff and students as well as information collected through collaboration across our MAT and other schools.

Delivery of Remote Learning

We believe that the subject specialists are able to best determine the specific resources and delivery techniques to use as they deliver their curriculum. The platforms we use, such as Microsoft Teams are developing the services they provide and we will continue to develop our practice to ensure that transferable skills will continue to help students in their future learning and careers. 

We continue to recognise and agree that research, guidance and advice offered across the sector suggests that the quality of teaching is more important than the delivery method, with variety playing an important role. Please see the below links to some of the external information we have used to supplement our own understanding in developing our approach.

We also deliver a variety of other non-curricular content using a range of media. These include pre-recorded assemblies, Character Education through Instagram, mental health and online safety updates on the school website and via Frog. Regardless of the content and the method of delivery, we ensure that rigorous safeguarding systems are in place to offer the support for those students who need it.

Engagement and Feedback

Students continue to be expected to engage with all work that is set by their teachers, whether this is via Frog or via invitations to live lessons on Teams. Information relating to student engagement is provided ‘live’ to all parents via Frog Parent allowing them to see all assignments that have been set, are ongoing, have been submitted and have been missed. This is checked throughout the week by each subject with departmental and pastoral staff contacting home where engagement becomes a concern. We appreciate the challenges that remote learning presents for families and appreciate the support of parents in this matter.

We acknowledge the essential role formative and summative assessment plays in the progress students make. This will be carried out in a number of ways, including verbal feedback using Teams, questioning in live lessons and written feedback. Teachers will provide this feedback in line with the department assessment policy.

Additional Support for Students with SEND

We expect to use various methods to support those students experiencing challenges to their ability to engage fully with remote learning, including those with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and those with difficult pastoral issues. This support starts with an enhanced level of personal contact from our Student Support Base and our pastoral teams, but will also extend to the flexibility of approach in the delivery of their curriculum. This may include access to the KWVP Provision, adjustments to how lessons are delivered, and the use of additional support that they would have available to them in school being deployed remotely. We feel flexibility in these circumstances is particularly valuable in meeting the wide range of needs and circumstances that present and encourage the support and engagement of parents in this process.

Remote Education for Self-Isolating Students

Whilst students are self-isolating and school is open, we will aim to minimise disruption as students reintegrate into their classes by following the same curriculum content as they would have been studying had they been in school. This will mean that, wherever possible, the work that has been completed by classmates who are still in school will be sent home via Frog as assignments and self-isolating students will be invited to attend live lessons through their school Office 365 account. Again, we will focus on the quality of resources, maximising engagement and providing high quality feedback that allows the students to progress. It is likely that the delivery methods and types of resource used will vary based on what is deemed appropriate by each of our subject specialists.

We have also provided some information in the form of a Remote Learning Frequently Asked Questions document which will supplement this information. At Gosforth Academy, the overarching responsibility for the quality and delivery of remote education is Ms Suzanne Pringle, Senior Lead – Teaching and Learning.