Dear parents and carers,
As we are beginning the summer term in such unprecedented circumstances, I thought it would be useful to write to you and outline both the ‘remote learning’ provision which we are offering all Bideford College students and, also, the expectations that you can have as to the feedback students will receive for the tasks which they complete remotely.
Frequency of setting work
We are keen to maintain our broad curriculum provision and students will be set modified learning activities for all subjects. These tasks should allow for students’ differing abilities in subjects and will often include extension tasks too. However, by recreating a remote version of the curriculum, we recognise that some students are feeling overwhelmed by the numerous tasks being set in the course of a day. For this reason, I am now asking our staff to approach the setting of tasks in a slightly differently way than that taken in the first days of the college’s closure.
Students in Years 7-10, will now be set learning activities for each subject once per week. These will be available on Classcharts at the start of each week. We hope that this will give families the flexibility to manage online learning around the other demands of daily routines as well as balancing this against what might well be limited access to IT. I will be writing to parents and carers of our Year 11 students separately, explaining the provision we are making for them.
Should they (or you) wish, students can then stagger what they have been set so that they follow a very simple timetable, with an AM and a PM task each day, that makes a reasonable expectation of what they can achieve when working independently and at home. This will hopefully give a sense of routine to the week as well as making the managing of tasks (and supporting your children in this) more practical. A suggested timetable is attached to accompany this letter.
The expected time taken for the completion of learning activities will reflect the number of lessons a student would have had in that subject each week. For example, activities set by Art and Music teachers would take less time to complete than those set by English, Maths or Science.
Submitting work and feedback
Of course, it is vitally important that teachers can check students are making progress, identify misunderstandings and acknowledge the effort being made. Therefore, some tasks (though not all) will need to be submitted through Classcharts so that they are sent directly to their class teacher. Teachers will make it clear which pieces require submission (and the date that this needs to be done by) when the task is set, and will maintain a record of the work that students hand-in, ensuring that they are rewarded with house points to recognise the effort they have made.
Teachers will provide feedback to students on work that is submitted. At times this might be individually given; at other times it might be to the class as a whole, offering development or improvement points.
Classcharts will remain the means through which we set students their remote learning tasks. Where there are other sites or platforms students need to visit, these will be sites that are an established part of how students have already been learning. If passwords are forgotten or misplaced the class teacher should be contacted. All teachers and tutors can provide students with their passwords for Classcharts (or, indeed, any sites that they are recommending students use). Please email reception if you need your parent log-in confirming.
Last year we renamed all homework ‘Independent Learning’. As students’ learning is inevitably independent anyway, for the time being, we will not set additional tasks beyond the weekly requirements for subjects.
Students should get into the habit of checking emails daily, to make sure they are up-to-date with information from the college. Students can directly email their teachers (and/or TAs, where they work closely with one or more), using the school email system. Please encourage them to do this on any occasion where they need further support or guidance, just as they would ask for help in a lesson. In addition, other key email addresses can be found here.
Access to IT
Where students do not have either the ICT access or equipment to complete the work we will send a pack of printed materials to a student’s home address so that they too can engage in learning activities. Please let the college reception know if your child is in this position and did not receive any material before the Easter break, so that we can add them to our list.
Maintaining learning is important for all of our students during the closure of schools. For Year 12 students, maintaining momentum is even more important, with their 2021 summer exams only a little over a year away.
As Year 12 students study far fewer subjects they will continue to receive tasks in line with their normal college timetables. Students will need to check Classcharts and their email each day, for tasks from their teachers. For simplicity, it might be the case that, where there is more than one subject teacher, that each takes responsibility for a particular topic or module, and so students might well have two or more different strands to follow in any given week. It is expected that students take responsibility for participating in this dialogue with their teachers and tutors.
Here is the suggested timetable for students’ summer term remote learning.
I hope that this information helps make navigating this difficult time a little clearer – our partnership with the parents and carers of our students has never been more valuable than it is now. In the days and weeks to come, do, please, let me know if you feel your son or daughter is not receiving work in line with what I have outlined here or, indeed, to offer any feedback about the provision we are making. My email address is listed below.
I look forward to communicating with you again in brighter circumstances, before too long.
Dr Bruce Butt
Assistant Principal – Teaching and Learning