Home learning update

28th January 2021

Home learning update

Dear Parent/Carer,

I hope you and your family are well. We would firstly like to take this opportunity to express our thanks for your continuing support in your child’s home learning. The purpose of this letter is to give you a brief update as to how the home learning provision is being adapted, largely as an outcome of a recent parental and pupil survey. Having over 600 survey returns has allowed for a rigorous and effective evaluation leading to direct outcomes. We do not know when pupils will be able to return to school, therefore we are putting plans in place now to make the home-learning experience more effective and sustainable.

The main points to be aware of are:

  • Adjustment of lesson times from 1 hour to 50 minutes.
  • Additional learning packs are to be delivered during the week beginning 1st
  • Communication from school to home regarding pupils where there are concerns regarding engagement in home-learning.

Adjustment of lesson times

Following the most recent survey we have decided to adapt the timings of the home-learning school day. Many parents and pupils felt that there was not enough time for pupils to complete all the work set during the online lessons and there was very little time in between lessons for pupils to have a short ‘screen-time’ break. The survey showed that around 70% of pupils spend 5 hours or more in front of a screen learning each day, without sufficient breaks. Additionally, some pupils are working late into the evening. It was never our intention for pupils, or staff, to be sat in front of a screen continuously for extended periods of time. Your child’s, and the school’s staff, health and wellbeing are our top priority. This new way of working has been a sharp learning curve for the whole school community and we are confident that we are moving to a more balanced, realistic, and workable outcome. We want our pupils to enjoy their learning in keeping with the school’s motto ‘learn to live…live to learn’.

We have decided to introduce a short break in between all lessons so that pupils have time to: complete work, save and send work to teachers; pack away resources used and prepare resources for the next lesson; log off the current online Team and set up the correct Team ready for the following lesson; take a short comfort break away from the computer before the next lesson starts. By reducing lessons from one-hour to 50 minutes and by introducing a short break in between each lesson, we believe it will benefit pupils’ health and wellbeing. Please encourage your child to take the opportunity to move around and, whenever safe and possible, to get some fresh air during the breaks in the day. The timings remain the same except 10 minutes have been removed from the end of each lesson. The new timings are shown below:

Nothing else will need to change, pupils just need to follow their timetable as they as doing currently. We hope this change will help your child achieve a healthy balance between learning, exercising, and resting. The useful and informative Swansea Council link below, promoting healthy home-schooling, has been emailed to parents/carers and pupils previously. Pupils were also directed towards it in last week’s virtual whole school assembly. It is worth a second look as it certainly encouraged me to reflect on and change some of my working habits. Please click below to open the document:

https://pontcomp.co.uk/2021/01/12/parent-pupil-hints-and-tips-for-using-ict-at-home/

Additional Learning Packs

We shall start delivering learning packs again on Tuesday 2nd February and hopefully complete all deliveries over a 3 to 4-day period. It would be remiss of me not to thank staff for going that ‘extra mile’ to ensure all pupils have the resources they require to learn effectively from home. This will be the third delivery this term. In many cases staff have used their own vehicles and time to make deliveries. Please contact the school if you have changed address recently so that we deliver to the correct location.

Communication regarding non-engaging pupils

A very small number of pupils are not engaging sufficiently with their home-learning provision. Up to this point individual teachers have been contacting parents/carers in these cases. This form of communication has resolved the situation in most cases but unfortunately not all. We are mindful of how challenging it may be for some parents/carers to encourage your child to learn at home. Receiving multiple emails/phone calls during a day may not always be appreciated and, understandably, escalate tensions at home rather than resolve the situation. With effect from Monday 1st February, we will employ a centralised alternative so that one member of staff will be making contact on behalf of the pupils’ teachers.

The most effective and immediate method of achieving a greater insight into your child’s learning is by asking them to show you the work they have covered at home. This will consist of online work (e.g., Study Zone, Microsoft Teams) and work completed in exercise books and booklets. We will continue to keep you informed of your child’s progress through full and interim reports that are accessible via the Insight App. Upcoming and recent assessment dates:

Upcoming and recent assessment/reporting dates for this term:

  • Year 7 interim report – Friday 5th February
  • Year 8 full report – Monday 25th January
  • Year 9 interim report – Friday 5th February
  • Year 9 virtual parents’ evening – Monday 22nd February
  • Year 10 interim report – Monday 18th January
  • Year 10 interim report – Friday 26th March
  • Year 11 full reports – Friday 11th February
  • Year 11 interim report – Friday 26th March

If you are still concerned regarding your child’s engagement and/or progress, then please contact the school.

Additional Support – Reminder

If a lack of an appropriate device is preventing your child from engaging in home learning, we will try our very best to loan you a device until your child returns to school. Often, we have been able to resolve issues through working together.

It has been appreciated when parents/carers contact the school to explain if their child is not able to learn from home due to illness, or any other reason. Designated staff are continuing to make courtesy phone calls to parents to check how home-learning is progressing and to see if any other support can be offered.

We fully appreciate that for many pupils and parents/carers the coronavirus pandemic continues to be a difficult time to navigate, and home-learning poses many challenges. Your ongoing support is valued more than ever, and we look forward to the day where life and school can return to normal. In the meantime, please keep safe and well.

Yours sincerely,

Mr. G. Rees

Headteacher