You have done an amazing job in the last three months - you have juggled so many roles and learned many new skills in the need to support your child’s learning at home during the coronavirus pandemic and I thoroughly commend and thank all of you for your efforts. The staff in Knockmore Primary School are currently gearing up to what lies ahead in the new academic year. We are also awaiting further advice and guidance from the Department of Education and the Public Health Authority. As soon as we have the necessary Risk Assessment and plans in place, we will share the way forward with all our parents.
I am anticipating that September will be a mixture of face to face teaching in the classroom and home learning for your child ie there will likely be further remote teaching to facilitate smaller classes in school. As such, I have devised a questionnaire to consult with you on how best to support you in developing your child’s learning at home. I realise that nothing is definitive at present but it is prudent for us to think ahead now. Can I ask you to please complete this questionnaire so that we can learn about the experiences of every single pupil working at home and better understand your perspective as a parent or guardian.
We want to reflect on our practice and adapt our approaches accordingly. Our initial approach has been to provide pupils with paper based work packs and online learning activities. We have tried to adopt a flexible approach as each family has a different context and differing needs. Most families have used a combination of online learning activities and paper based work packs whilst some families have opted for paper based work packs alone.
In relation to paper based work packs, some pupils completed packs and teachers have prepared more packs which were either collected by parents or delivered by staff to family homes. The challenge of using paper packs during lockdown has been the difficulty in enabling teachers to mark work within these packs.
In relation to online learning, we quickly became aware that some families either lacked devices for online learning or had devices that were incompatible for our school forums. We quickly organised a lending library of ipads – especially adapted for home use. To date 46 iPads have been collected by parents or delivered by staff to family homes and I am delighted that parents have availed of the option to borrow school iPads. We extended our online forums and subscriptions so that every child had a license to use LEXIA, Education City and Mathletics. The payment for subscriptions to LEXIA, Education City and Mathletics have also enabled each teacher to monitor which programmes are being used at home and the progress of each individual child. The benefit of this has been to enable teachers to set further work for individual children based on the feedback they get about pupil engagement online. We also joined Active Learn and our teachers had a crash course in using Google Classroom.
In relation to home learning, we need to know:
- What worked well for you and why?
- What didn't work well for you and why?
- Moving forward, what will help further?
- What training you would like to support your child in online learning?
- What resources you need to support your child in online learning?
I want to consult with you, as parents/guardians, as the evidence in research would indicate that effective partnership with parents enables the best outcomes for children. We all want what is best for your child and our staff really appreciate and value the opportunity to work in partnership with every parent or guardian in our school community.
Please, please, please complete this survey and don’t hesitate to ask for help if required. We can improve our practice if we get constructive feedback.
Very many thanks in anticipation for your efforts in this.