Early Years transition activities are available to view and download over on the EYFS year group page.
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At Waterside Academy we all strive to follow our Golden Rules
We let other children learn
We are kind
We look after property
We keep ourselves safe
We try our hardest
Today's learning for tomorrow's world!
Dear Parents and Carers,
Welcome to Waterside Academy - a small and friendly one-form entry Primary School serving Welwyn Garden City in Hertfordshire.
At present we are closed to most pupils but delivering high-quality remote learning
Our 'Remote Learning Strategy and High-Quality Provision'...
Our expectations for 'Remote Learning' are as follows...
-Teachers to deliver a well-planned and well-sequenced remote curriculum so that both knowledge and skills are built incrementally, with clarity about what is intended to be taught and practised, by their pupils, in each individual subject
-Teachers to use a clear 'curriculum sequence' that allows access to high-quality online and offline resources and teaching videos and that is linked to our original curriculum expectations
-Teachers provide access to high quality remote education resources
-Teachers select online tools that are consistently used, across the school, in order to allow interaction, assessment and feedback and school leaders will make sure staff are trained in their use
-Teachers will provide printed resources, such workbooks, for pupils who do not have suitable online access
-We, as a school, recognise that younger pupils and some pupils with SEND may not be able to access remote education without adult support and we will therefore work with families to deliver a broad and ambitious curriculum appropriately
-At least 15 hours of work will be set, per week, for our infant pupils and at least 20 hours of work will be set, per week, for our junior pupils.
We, as a school, will publish more information for pupils, parents and carers about their remote education provision on our website in a timely fashion
For those who believe they may be eligible for emergency childcare during this new 'lockdown' - January 2021. Please see the guidance below...
Further Information on Remote Education
Replicating our classrooms, but remotely...
The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) has found that the effectiveness of remote teaching is determined by many of the same factors as determine the effectiveness of live classroom teaching.
- ensuring pupils receive clear explanations
- supporting growth in confidence with new material through scaffolded practice
- application of new knowledge or skills
- enabling pupils to receive feedback on how to progress
These characteristics of good teaching are more important than the medium of delivery, be it in the ‘live’ classroom or through remote provision (whether or not that remote provision is live or pre-recorded). It is important that we consider how to transfer into remote education what we already know about effective teaching in the live classroom.
Actual classrooms enable important interaction between teachers and pupils through, for example, questioning, eliciting and reflective discussion.
These complex teaching skills in the live classroom are not always easy to recreate in a remote environment, but where remote education recreates at least some aspects of this interactivity and intentional dialogue, teaching is likely to be more effective, support pupil motivation and lead to better progress.
Pupils in the early stages of their formal education are likely to have particular needs which cannot always easily be addressed in the same way as those of other pupils. Likewise, some pupils with SEND will require specific approaches tailored to their circumstances.
Access to appropriate devices and connectivity is also essential for technology-led approaches to remote education. However, securing access for all pupils is a significant challenge in many contexts.
We endeavour to...
- maintain an up-to-date record of which pupils and families do not have device or internet access
- consider how school technology resources could be used in future to support pupils without sufficient remote facilities. This could include preparing to provide laptops and chargers to identified families with any usage or loan agreements necessary to help safeguard school property
- ensure that any equipment obtained under the department’s Get help with technology programme is clearly identified and ready to be re-distributed for a similar purpose
Further Information on Remote Teaching/Learning provision
While pupils experienced disruption to their education from March last year, a number of different approaches were used by schools to continue their education. We, along with many other schools learnt from experience and innovated. We took on board pupil and parent feedback and improved our provision as the weeks passed.
While there are a number of ways to implement high-quality remote education, remote-access technology offers many advantages which enable schools to continue a relatively normal programme of teaching across all or most curriculum subjects.
We have successfully been able to use a single, interactive platform (Microsoft Teams) for part of our remote education provision. By using this system, it is possible for us to create virtual classes by drawing information from schools’ Management Information Systems, enabling a single point of access for all lessons and resources and allowing teachers to host both live and recorded explanations and lessons.
Linking platforms to applications
It is possible to enhance these platforms by using applications which allow for easy video recording of teachers teaching, explaining and questioning.
Tests and quizzes are also an important part of effective teaching and can be easily created to precede or follow teaching sequences. When teaching live, it is possible for teachers to question individual pupils and for pupils to pose questions to teachers or peers.
Schools can use these media to continue to deliver most of their normal planned curriculum, and, where available and relevant, textbooks (both ‘hard copy’ and electronic) could be issued for pupils to use at home to complement and support lessons.
Where lessons are recorded, they can be accessed later by pupils, making flexible use possible in the context of limited or shared device access. These and similar platforms can make it easier for teachers to monitor pupils’ progress because work can be viewed or submitted through a single system. This in turn may make it easier for teachers to adapt work in the light of pupils’ progress.
Other resources, which include other good-quality free and subscription-based online resources, can be linked or embedded.
Because these platforms enable the creation of simulated or virtual classrooms, it is easier to carry over what we know about effective teaching from the live to the virtual environment. This can include clear teacher explanations of new content which are sequenced to build on previous learning, targeted questioning, and scaffolded practice.
Maintaining aspects of school life online
These platforms can also be used beyond the individual lesson context for other events such as whole staff briefings and professional development sessions, and for teachers to lead events such as year or whole school assemblies. It is important that these aspects of school life are maintained during any period of disruption.
In some cases it is possible to expect a normal school day to be worked remotely by both pupils and teachers. Recognising that this will not always be practical, where it is possible the routine can prove beneficial to pupils and support them in the management of their work and time.
Often, it is necessary to operate more flexibly, for example to accommodate contexts where pupils are having to share a single device within the home, meaning that access to recorded lessons is also needed. However, frequent contact between pupils and teachers is crucial. This contact may, for example, be through presence in a remotely delivered lesson, questioning, feedback, or some other form of on or offline exchange about schoolwork.
Continuing the planned curriculum
Continuing to teach all or most of the normal planned curriculum in the remote environment is important. Subjects where this is more challenging are those that would normally include significant elements of practical work in the live classroom, for example sciences, music or technology. However, in these and other cases, video demonstrations (and there are many ready-to-use examples linked to the curriculum available on platforms such as YouTube) can substitute well for practical work, particularly if accompanied by teacher explanation, commentary and a text book or electronic resource.
Physical education is a difficult subject to teach remotely. Some aspects may be able to be delivered using video demonstrations. At the same time, taking account of any restrictions in force and pupils’ age and living circumstances, pupils should be encouraged to take regular physical exercise to maintain fitness.
It is essential for staff to use school email addresses. Groups can be set up to streamline communication for example with a whole class. Existing online resources and packages with school or teacher-created resources, can be used, for example: worksheets, tests and quizzes, as well as video or sound recordings of explanations hosted on platforms such as YouTube - or available on a school, remote-access area.
It is important to note that high-quality remote teaching is far more than setting work for pupils to complete, although setting tasks to complement sequences of teaching plays an important role. Evidence shows that lengthy or open-ended projects or research activities are in most cases less likely to lead to strong progress or outcomes. Such approaches should generally be avoided in favour of the more interactive, teacher-led approaches to delivering the school’s planned curriculum described above.
Finding solutions in remote provision
Schools identified some common challenges in the provision of remote education during the summer term of 2020. Here are some solutions to those common challenges.
A lack of devices
Schools remind pupils that access is possible through large-screen smartphones.
Additionally, textbooks can be used at home to provide a structure to learning, supplemented with other forms of communication to keep pupils on track or answer questions about work.
Where mobile phones are being used by pupils to access content (and where pupils are having to rely on mobile phone connectivity) there may be limits to the amount of data they can access without incurring significant expense. Schools can get technology support from DfE for issues with devices and internet access.
Pupils having difficulties submitting work
Multi-functional remote platforms allow for the submission of most kinds of work. Email can also be used to send work to teachers for review and feedback and screenshots can be taken and emailed as attachments. Additionally, smartphones can be used to photograph work which is difficult to submit in other ways. Post or school drop-off points can also be considered.
Keeping pupils motivated and engaged
As set out in the guidance for full opening, we will monitor pupil engagement with remote education provision. Schools can log participation and motivation levels and feedback to parents, either individually or formally through regular reports. We also plan to contact pupils (or parents) by telephone, to explore ways to secure re-engagement, every Thursday.
Assessing pupils’ progress
Using the features of a multi-functional platform, our teachers may create regular, pre and post-lesson quizzes. Consideration is given to ensuring availability for pupils without easy online access, including through distribution of hard-copy versions - which are available from the office.
Organising structured remote teaching suitable for very young pupils
We recognise that very young pupils are likely to have particular needs which cannot easily be met in some of the ways described above. For such pupils, the priority will be progress in early reading.
Ensuring continued access to appropriate reading books and resources for early readers is considered as part of our planning.
Helping parents, carers or other adults at home to continue to support children in their early reading, where appropriate and practical through structured practice of phonics content, is another important part of contingency planning for children at this stage.
Supporting pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)
SEND pupils at our school have a wide range of specific additional needs. Their teachers know these needs best, and how they can be most effectively met to ensure pupils continue to make progress wherever possible if they are not able to be in school.
It is likely that more individualised planning may need to happen in many cases, and that the support of adults in the home will be a significant advantage where that is possible.
Parents not being able to effectively support remote education
Good communication between our school and our parents (about the approach we are taking) will help.
This will include, where appropriate, regular letters, You Tube Videos, social media use and one-to-one telephone calls (where necessary) to inform parents and elicit their support.
As ever, if you've any questions then please just get in contact and ask.
Mr T Mills-Bishop