Please find below the most recent letter sent to parents regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
Please continue to check your schoolcomms emails and app for any communication from school as it is vital that the most recent information is read, as with each new release of guidance from the government, changes may be made. Please contact school if you would like to discuss matters further.
11th January 2021
Dear Parents and Carers,
As we enter our first full week of National lockdown, I would like to take the opportunity to thank parents and carers for the overwhelming support that we received last week. All of the staff very much appreciate the kind messages and emails that have been sent. The staff continue to want the best for every individual child and will ensure that those children at school and at home receive the same quality of learning.
There is much debate about the suitability of live lessons for Primary-aged children and I thought that parents/carers may be interested to read more about the reasoning behind the approach to remote learning that we are taking at Berkswich CE. Our approach is similar to many other primary schools both within the local area and nationally.
As mentioned in a previous email, we will be providing a range of learning activities for children through different mediums. We are not relying on one method only; whole-class ‘live lessons’ will be limited. We have drawn from educational research, as well as our experience earlier in the year of bubbles having to self-isolate, to support our decision-making.
It perhaps feels like whole class live lessons would reflect more closely what happens in our usual classrooms and they can be very effective for older children; however, this is not necessarily the case for primary-aged children. We feel for several reasons that pre-recorded lessons in addition to small groups / one-one live teaching and other uploaded activities are better for our children and this has been confirmed by many educational articles.
A recent report from the Education Endowment Foundation points out that the method of delivery is much less important than the quality of that delivery. The quality is often better in pre-recorded lessons as staff often rehearse this and re-record it several times before they upload it, something that cannot be done during a live lesson. By prerecording, you can think more carefully about the quality of explanation and more easily build in video clips and other animations that help to bring the explanation to life. Your concentration is entirely on the material produced rather than on what everyone else in the session is doing. Pre-recorded lessons also mean that pupils can pause, rewind and revisit explanations that they have struggled with and allows the teacher to effectively use time in the lesson to support or extend learning as needed.
Perhaps the biggest advantage of using pre-recorded lessons is accessibility. In many homes, there aren’t suitable devices for all children to access lessons at the same time. One laptop can’t serve three children who all have live lessons simultaneously, but this approach may allow access to lessons 'on demand' when convenient. Understandably, many parents have found it useful to have lessons presented in a way that flexibly fits around their own work demands.
There can also be a problem with the amount of bandwidth streaming that live lessons require, and this often becomes an issue when children are trying to join live lessons at the same time that parents are trying to have virtual meetings.
I hope that this correspondence adds some further clarification to the decisions behind our approaches to remote learning. Your child’s class teacher will have made contact to share plans for their learning which will take a number of forms; please note that plans will continue to evolve as we become more fluent in this way of working.
We understand that regular communication is vital whilst children are not accessing learning at school. Please can I ask that if there are any queries with home learning, that your child’s class teacher should be the first port of call; it is important that in the event of any concerns that the teacher addresses these as quickly as possible.
As was stated previously, each day you will receive an email from your child’s class teacher with an outline of the learning. You can also contact your teacher through their class teacher email address, but please remember that staff are teaching fulltime and so will respond as soon as they possibly can.
Thank you once more for the uplifting emails and messages that parents and carers have sent into school and please let us know if we can do anything further to support our families.