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Huge numbers turn to the BBC as Lockdown Learning begins

Children, parents and teachers turned to the BBC in their droves yesterday for the launch of Lockdown Learning.

On TV, Lockdown Learning on CBBC saw the slot average (0900-1200) increase by an incredible 436% (age 4+) while BBC Two saw an increase of 29% (1300-1500). Both channels were compared to their slot averages of each Monday over the last 52 weeks.

Yesterday, Bitesize Daily episodes on BBC iPlayer were requested 275k times, 12% more requests than on launch day in April 2020, whilst Bitesize online attracted an amazing 1.6m unique visitors.

Patricia Hidalgo, Director of BBC Children’s and Education, says: “These extraordinary numbers prove that people continue to turn to the BBC in times of need. We’re thrilled to be supporting so many families and teachers across the UK with our curriculum based and edutainment content on-air and online.”

Lockdown Learning sees the BBC’s biggest ever educational offering now reaching more kids across more platforms. On CBBC, viewers can watch Bitesize Daily Primary from 9am-10am, followed by edutainment shows including, Horrible Histories, Art Ninja, Our School, Operation Ouch and Celebrity Supply Teacher up to midday.

Over on BBC Two, the channel is supporting Secondary school curriculums with episodes of Bitesize Daily Secondary complemented by Shakespeare and classic drama adaptations alongside science, history and factual titles from the BBC’s award-winning factual programming units. This week students can enjoy Professor Brian Cox’s: The Planets.

This TV offer sits alongside a wealth of online content which parents, children and teachers can access when and where they need.
Please click here for more information on Lockdown Learning.

Curriculum relevant, and native language educational content for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland is available on BBC Bitesize, with educational programming also available every morning at 10am on BBC Scotland.

Don’t let past experiences interfere with schooling

 

An area which has been a challenge for our school, and indeed many, is how do we effectively engage parents and carers in their child’s education?  Past experiences often form our opinions in life. For many adults, school wasn’t always a pleasant experience meaning that they are less likely to engage in their child’s education or with their school.  Added to this, the current climate of social distancing, parental and carer engagement and reassuring them of what is happening in class has never been more challenging.

At Heronswood our school ethos is to give children a genuine, emotional connection with their learning, as it is then that they will achieve the highest standards. Fundamental to this is useful and meaningful engagement with the parents and carers of our 410 pupils, helping them work together with our teachers to ensure that every child in every class reaches their full potential.  

Communications fit for purpose

Today, parent communication is more than comments and marks in a school report and a once a year report evening. A key area of focus at our school this year was improving parental engagement.  We wanted every child’s parent or carer to be aware of what was happening in the classroom; to understand what the pupils were learning, why it was necessary and to share in their achievements.  But, with a high percentage of parents with English as an additional language, communications have proved tricky as for some of our pupils, English is not a language spoken in their homes.  We recognised that sending home letters about the curriculum or rewards was not working as some adults couldn’t understand the messages being sent.  This created a further challenge as often; those parents were only receiving basic information from the school.  They had little understanding of what was happening in the classroom and what learning their child was taking part in.  A further challenge for us was that in the current pandemic, we felt giving out physical reward badges to the children was best avoided. Still, we also recognised how crucial they were in boosting children’s esteem after so much time out of the classroom. 

 

Support at home enhances success

EdTech has undoubtedly helped at Heronswood. We’ve gone from communicating to 70% of our families to 100% of parents and carers in just two weeks, and we received thousands of positive virtual ‘high-fives’ from parents and carers, showing that they are engaged in their child’s learning in the classroom. 

The impact of parental engagement can have such a positive influence on a child’s education, and Heronswood is on a mission to ensure that every child goes home each day to parents or carers who are aware of what they had been working on in class and their achievements. Parents need messages of reassurance to home if a child is finding something tricky, or perhaps they would like a reminder to do homework.

We knew the best way to close the engagement gap is to improve parental communications, and here are my top tips to help:

  • Break down barriers by using a familiar format such as mobile comms
  • Pick a format which is easily accessible for parents
  • Share positive news, not just the dreaded ‘phone call home.’
  • Put the onus on teachers to communicate with parents about daily events and rewards
  • Involve parents in the decision process of how you communicate, what do they think of it?
  • Ask parents for feedback regularly, know what’s working and what isn’t

More hours in the day

Teachers across the country know that school life is hectic with minimal hours in the day to pack everything in.  Throw in the pandemic and teachers are stretched to their limits.  With the EdTech platform, our teachers are benefitting from no more writing ‘please remember to read for 20 minutes’ in 30 home school diaries.  Now, Teachers can say, today we read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Please ask your child about the characters. Or your child should read for 10 minutes today with an adult.  For our reception children, the teacher can send a voice message saying, “Today we’ve learnt the sound ‘fffff’ ask your child to show you some things around the home beginning with the sound ‘ffff'” and they can easily and quickly send through the reward badges to parents and carers. It’s a fantastic way to help parents support their child’s learning in the right way and saves so much time. 

Looking forward, I can’t see that we’ll ever go back to traditional communication methods.  EdTech is the way forward if we want to ensure effective communications with parents and carers, reduce the number of hours that teachers spend on admin, and in turn, ensure that every child achieved their full potential in learning.

Mrs Pierpoint is Head Teacher of Heronswood Primary School and pre-School, part of Rivers C of E Academy Trust in Worcestershire.  The school use http://www.marvellousme.com/ to improve parental engagement.

50% of schools would like more support with remote learning

  • Jigsaw24’s lockdown learning survey finds 50% of schools would like more support when delivering remote learning.
  • 70% reported struggling during the UK’s first lockdown – in some cases, up to 80% of students did not engage.
  • However, 75% of schools say issues are on the mend thanks to resilient staff and investment in mobile devices.

 

At Jigsaw24, we’ve been providing IT solutions to schools, colleges and universities for nearly 30 years. And if there’s one thing we’ve learned in that time, it’s that things go better when schools work together. However, recent circumstances have made that difficult: communication has become harder, pupils and their families are facing huge challenges when it comes to accessing essential resources, and teachers have struggled to maintain access to their usual resources and support systems.

 

But schools across the UK have risen to the challenge, each finding their own way to handle remote learning and the pressures of lockdown. We spoke to teachers, IT teams, admin staff and school leadership teams from 12 schools across the UK to find out which devices, apps and strategies have served them best, and are sharing the results in our latest whitepaper. We hope schools will be able to see how organisations like theirs have adapted, and earmark solutions that they want to try going forward. You can download the full whitepaper here, or read on for a few of our key findings…

 

Platform-agnostic apps are the way to go

Because the initial lockdown happened so quickly, many schools struggled to provide devices for each child to take home. To offset some of this uncertainty, 33% of schools chose to connect with pupils primarily over email and 25% relied mostly on phone calls. However, multi-platform apps were also popular. Google Classroom, which can be installed on a device or accessed via a browser, was used by 33% of schools.

 

We typically recommend using an app like Showbie, which is device-agnostic and allows for the sharing and feedback of work in a single, unified environment. Some anecdotal feedback we’ve received from parents shows they’re not familiar with apps like these, which are primarily designed to facilitate student-teacher interaction. In those cases, checking in with parents via methods like emails, phone calls or text to ensure they’re aware of what their children should be working on has proven to be hugely helpful.

 

Parental engagement is schools’ number one concern

As any educator will tell you, lockdown learning has not been without its issues. 70% of schools reported having issues at the start of their remote learning programme, the most common one being a lack of pupil engagement – in one case, up to 80% of students were failing to engage.

 

Other issues included pupils having to share devices with parents who were working from home (and therefore not being available for synchronised activities like class Zoom calls or live streamed lessons) and an inability to reach parents.

 

But staff have risen to the challenge

Teachers are nothing if not resourceful, and 75% of respondents said their initial issues – including that worrying dip in engagement – are now fixed. This is largely down to the amazing from staff across the school. 60% of respondents said teachers adapted quite well or very well to remote working.

 

If you’re one of the 40% of schools that are still struggling with the transition, we can provide training that will help boost your team’s confidence. As well as providing basic and subject-specific skills training on new apps and devices that your school has rolled out, we can deliver training on how best to structure remote lessons and keep pupils’ attention on task while they’re learning from home.

 

Mobile device management plays in a key part in safeguarding

Managing devices while they’re off the school network is a key safeguarding issue for schools. Asked how they managed their devices, 60% of respondents said they’d invested in dedicated device management software, which allows them to control permissions, block apps and send alerts to the school when students may have used their device inappropriately. 30% said they have outsourced device management to an external provider, while just 10% said they manage each device manually.

 

The great thing about software-defined MDM is that it can be done “over the air”: devices are managed over the internet, so IT teams have the same level of control (and can offer the same degree of protection) wherever a student or teacher may be. Applications like Jamf Pro and Apple Classroom make it easy for admin staff to group students into classes or year groups and apply granular, age- and subject- specific restrictions in a reliable (yet invisible) way.

 

Only 30% of schools received support from DfE – and 50% would like more support

It’s clear from our survey that schools have worked hard to make the most of limited resources and offset the very real hardships their students are facing. But 50% of respondents wanted more support in order to improve remote learning going forward.

 

That’s what we’re here for.

 

Our regionally based team includes former teachers and IT engineers who can help you make sure your remote and in-person teaching is perfectly synced. From supplying hardware (including pairing schools with compliant financing partners) to device management and ongoing support, we’re here to help schools tackle any technical issue they may face. You can get started by downloading the whitepaper here.

 

For more insights from lockdown learning survey, and to find out more about how Jigsaw24 can help schools manage remote learning, visit Jigsaw24.com/education. Alternatively, get in touch with the team on 03332 409 290 or email education@Jigsaw24.com

STEVE CLARKE AND DAVID MARSHALL GIVE TOP MARKS TO SCHOOLS PROJECT THAT TAKES SCOTLAND’S UEFA EURO 2020 SUCCESS INTO CLASSROOMS ACROSS THE COUNTRY

  • Scotland Head Coach supports digital teachers’ resource that allows “next generation to share in the achievement” of reaching next summer’s finals
  • Penalty-save hero Marshall says initiative underlines “importance of what we achieved” for next generation
  • Learning Through Football platform puts historic qualification on the curriculum in schools across Scotland as Hampden prepares to co-host tournament

 

Scotland head coach Steve Clarke and penalty-save hero David Marshall have given their backing to a new initiative which will enable thousands of children across the country to add Scotland’s UEFA EURO 2020 adventure to their studies. Learning Through Football, a classroom-based teaching resource, was today launched at Miller Primary School in Castlemilk and is designed to use the power of football to improve literacy and numeracy. 

 

The programme has been developed in line with the Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) and includes more than 40 activities centred around the UEFA European Championship for teachers to download and deliver after the Christmas holidays. 

 

Building on the excitement of the Scotland Men’s National Team qualification for the first major tournament in 22 years, Learning Through Football will launch in Glasgow – with Hampden Park one of 12 host city venues for the 60th anniversary of the UEFA European Championship – and will be rolled-out across the country as excitement builds. 

 

Pupils taking part will get an exclusive insight into the world of the Scotland National Team and the broader football industry, tailored to literacy and numeracy outcomes: from the stats behind the successes of captain Andy Robertson and goalkeeping hero David Marshall; presenting like STV’s Sheelagh MacLaren; to trying-out the art of commentary made famous by BBC Scotland’s Liam McLeod and Sky Sports’ Ian Crocker.

 

Steve Clarke, Scotland Head Coach: “It is important that football, as our national sport, is back on the national curriculum and it’s encouraging that the whole country can share in what the Scotland National Team has achieved, especially the next generation of young people we want to inspire. Whether it’s playing the game or being involved in the many jobs around football, Learning Through Football is a great initiative that will allow young people to learn all about the EUROS in anticipation of Scotland taking part and especially with Hampden Park being one of the host venues.”

 

David Marshall, Scotland goalkeeper: “It’s great to see that qualifying for a major tournament is already having a positive influence on young people through the school curriculum. Learning Through Football is a terrific initiative and one I wished was available in the classroom when I was that age.

 

“In a way it makes you realise the importance of what we have achieved and hopefully it inspires kids across the country to interact with football in a way that will help their education but also  their careers with the possibilities that now exist in and around the game.”

 

Based on the established ‘inter-disciplinary learning’ model, the tool has been developed in conjunction with Glasgow’s Physical Education, Physical Activity and School Sport (PEPASS) team and Glasgow City Council Education Services.

 

Miller Primary School in Glasgow is one of the schools already using the tool in class, with pupils trying a range of new activities from designing football strips to making their own national anthem for the tournament. Two pupils have also re-enacted the Head Coach’s post-match interview after Scotland qualified in a dramatic penalty shootout against Serbia in Belgrade.

 

Jacqueline Church, Principal Teacher at Miller Primary School: “We’ve thoroughly enjoyed bringing the Learning Through Football tool into the classroom. Everyone loves their football at Miller Primary and the activities are really flexible and allow the children to explore their own interests in the sports industry. Not only are the assignments fun and interesting, but the children are able apply a range of skills to meaningful life contexts, boosting their confidence and leadership skills.

 

“By exploring jobs within the industry, they are also recognising the teamwork, communication and perseverance skills we need to work in any job, which sets them in good stead for the future.”

 

David Weir, PE Lead Officer at PEPASS, said: “It’s been a pleasure working with the UEFA EURO 2020 Glasgow team and the Scottish FA over the past couple of years to develop this extremely valuable teaching and learning tool.  

 

“The commitment to detail and desire to create an educational resource which not only acknowledges and references many aspects of Curriculum for Excellence but specifically delivers a relevant, coherent, challenging, enjoyable and lasting tool for all, was particularly appealing.

 

“We will all be celebrating when Scotland run onto the pitch for their first game at Hampden, none more so than our young people, and this tool will really help them feel part of it.”

 

 

ABOUT LEARNING THROUGH FOOTBALL

 

The tool is accessed through a newly launched area of the UEFA EURO 2020 website, which will give primary and secondary teachers easy access to the resources needed to deliver in schools.

 

This new digital format of the inter-disciplinary learning tool allows teachers to see the cross-curricular links between project ideas, showing the wealth of learning areas that football can be part of. Alongside learning topics, there are a number of projects and assignments aligned to Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) learning outcomes in literacy, expressive arts, health and wellbeing, maths and numeracy, science, social studies and technologies.

 

Each curriculum area can be downloaded as a handy summary, as well as the whole snapshot of the curriculum and related project ideas. There is a guidance note for further information.

 

Teachers are being asked to use, share and feedback on experiences with these resources, as the Scottish FA and partners continue to develop the project.

 

For more information and to download the resources please visit https://euro2020.scottishfa.co.uk/learning-through-football. Teachers and schools are also encouraged to share their work on social media using #LearningThroughFootball, #EURO2020 and tagging @GlasgowEURO2020.

 

MarvellousMe collaborates with TT Rock Stars to bring school rewards schemes into the 21st century

 

2nd December 2020: MarvellousMe has today announced a collaboration with Maths Circle Ltd, providers of award-winning maths learning programmes Times Table Rock Stars and NumBots, to provide schools with a cutting-edge pupil rewards scheme, which puts the power in the hands of teachers to recognise and communicate progress achievements to parents quickly.

 

The MarvellousMe app helps teachers to immediately highlight to parents any positive rewards their child has received in school and delivers that information straight into the hands of parents to their smartphones.

 

MarvellousMe is an app which allows teachers to communicate with parents or carers positively.  Primarily aimed at early years and primary settings, MarvellousMe was created by a disgruntled dad who wanted to create positive conversations with his children about what was happening at school.

 

The collaboration brings MarvellousMe, currently used to communicate to more than 200,000 parents across the UK, together with, Queen’s Award-Winning company, Maths Circle Ltd, creators of Times Tables Rock Stars, a fun-filled interactive maths programme used in over 14,000 schools worldwide, that helps pupils learn and recall their times tables.

Adrian Burt, Founder of MarvellousMe, said: “Many teachers are naturally worried about pupil’s self- esteem and how to manage remote learning.  With MarvellousMe, teachers can easily send work home and provide pupil rewards for good work remotely, helping to keep pupil morale and outcomes high.  This relationship is perfect for schools using Times Table Rock Stars and/or NumBots as the personalised badges are a real motivator, helping children to get back on track as quickly as possible.”

 

“Our collaboration with MarvellousMe gives an easy way for teachers to reward pupils for their achievements on Times Tables Rock Stars and NumBots.  Delivering reward badges electronically and instantly is a great motivator for pupils to give that little bit of extra effort.” Bruno Reddy, CEO of Maths Circle Ltd.

 

The MarvellousMe app provides teachers with a safe, GDPR compliant, way to contact parents and share positive news on their child’s progress, as well as giving bright, colourful reward badges which are sent home to the parents.

 

“Engaging with parents today isn’t about me sending a letter home anymore; it’s about contacting parents in a familiar format.  In the age of one-touch tech, should we be giving out paper stickers?  Technology, like MarvellousMe, means that we can have quicker and easier ways to deliver rewards and messages to parents and carers instantly. Users can invite parents, carers and grandparents to sign up so that they can share in the good news, a brilliant addition to help prevent loneliness in the current climate.” Mrs Pierpoint, Heronswood Primary School

 

MarvellousMe is used in over 700 schools across the UK.  You can find out  more about improving parental engagement and supercharging your in-class and online rewards programme at https://bit.ly/CollabPR

 

School delivers more than 22,000 live online lessons during lockdown

 

Pupils only missed one days of lessons as staff worked ‘around the clock’ to pivot to a full digital curriculum within 48-hours

Whilst schools and universities remained open through the second national lockdown, social distancing and other Covid-19 safety measures continue to impose a very different education environment to that of a year ago. Many establishments are delivering a hybrid of face-to-face and virtual lessons to reduce the numbers of pupils in attendance at one time and to offer those that are self-isolating a continued education. For the Royal Hospital School, the transition for this lockdown is seamless, having refined the process earlier this year.  

When the Government instructed schools across the UK to close on 20th March 2020, as part of the emergency measures to reduce the transmission of Covid-19, teachers, parents, and pupils were left confused and concerned about the immediate and long-term effects to education. Whilst head teachers across the UK waited for guidance on how to proceed with teaching and which pupils were eligible to attend school, the Royal Hospital School (RHS) was forging ahead with its digital learning journey which began seven years ago.

An independent co-educational boarding and day school for 11-18-year olds in Holbrook, Suffolk, like all schools across the country, the Royal Hospital School closed its doors on Friday 20th March 2020. Staff attended the school for an intensive day of training on the Saturday and a full live online timetable of classes for every pupil resumed via Microsoft Teams on Monday 23rd March.

In short, RHS pupils missed less than one day of education during a time when the majority of schools were unable to provide anything other than limited links to online worksheets and are still struggling with the challenges providing education during a pandemic brings. With staff working around the clock to pivot to a virtual timetable, RHS managed to deliver an astonishing 22,000 live online lessons as well as live assemblies and even virtual sports and choir sessions during the lockdown period.

Every RHS pupil had already been using a school iPad for the previous 6 years as an integral part of learning, so there were no issues for pupils joining lessons live, or, in the cases of international students, accessing recorded lessons at a suitable time within their local time zones.

Headmaster, Simon Lockyer, says: “RHS has always focused on excellence in teaching and learning, as well as pastoral care and it was important that we all took a fluid approach to delivering education during the pandemic. Every member of the RHS community, staff, pupils and parents, stepped up immediately to ensure the success of our immediate transmission to online learning. For our pupils to only miss one day of lessons is testament to the resilience of the team and the dedication of every stakeholder in the school. I am very proud of them all.” 

Whilst the majority of students are now back at the school, there are still international students learning at home and pupils self-isolating so RHS has once again pivoted its delivery to a hybrid of on-site and online live lessons to ensure every pupil has access to the resources they need to continue uninterrupted education during the pandemic.

For more information about the school visit www.royalhospitalschool.org.

Laser targeted reading intervention programme launched to help schools support pupils’ learning recovery

As teachers return to class, the need to identify and address any reading issues will be a priority. With this in mind, Lexplore Analytics has launched a ready-made reading development and intervention programme which provides teachers with proven strategies to target each child’s precise difficulties.

Lexplore Intensive has been developed by experienced teacher,  SENDCO and dyslexia specialists, Pamela Hanigan and Rachel Gelder, who co-founded Lancashire Dyslexia Information Guidance and Support (LDIGS).

With full instruction guides, marking sheets and student workbooks, the reading development and intervention programme for children in years 1 to 10, removes the need for lesson planning around interventions. It can therefore be picked up and used by reading volunteers, and support staff as well as SENDCOs or class teachers.

Dyslexia expert and Lexplore Intensive author, Rachel Gelder, said: “The task facing teachers as they return to school is a significant one. Identifying any learning gaps and supporting pupils as they work through the recovery curriculum is a big ask. With Lexplore Intensive, we have made sure teachers have instant access to a set of proven interventions matched to each child so that progress in the core skill of reading can be made quickly.”

Lexplore Intensive is relevant for all learners with strategies suitable for neurodiverse and EAL learners. Teachers will have access to interventions to develop weaker readers plus ideas to challenge the stronger readers in a class so all children can make progress.

Fellow Lexplore Intensive author, Pamela Hanigan said: “Rachel and I just simply imagined what sort of interventions guide we would want created for ourselves as teachers and that is what we set about making. We have used a range of multisensory learning techniques for each intervention so a full range of learning styles is catered for. It focuses heavily on improving working memory and metacognition so the skills children learn will stay with them beyond the initial intervention.”

The reading development and intervention programme is based on the principles of Letters and Sounds and aligns with the colour coded reading assessment results that are generated when a pupil sits Lexplore Analytics’ unique eye tracking reading assessment. Using both tools together a teacher can have within minutes a full assessment of a child’s reading and a plan of interventions to address any concerns.

Interventions for embedding letter recognition, include revising the alphabet with multisensory techniques, using physical letters (such as plastic letters or letter pebbles), saying and hearing the letters, tracing over these with a finger, tracking the letters and putting them in alphabetical sequence. Using a number of different senses in this way, means the learning is more likely to stay with the child.

An intervention aimed at a group of older children with comprehension difficulties could include cutting up the lines of an unfamiliar poem and asking the children to recreate the poem in what they believe to be the correct order. The aim of the exercise is not to see whether the children manage to recreate the poem exactly, but to explore their discussion around the meaning of the phrases and how they would logically fit together.

Aimee Cave a SENDCO and assistant head at Pocklington Junior School who has used the workbook said:Lexplore Intensive allows me to provide small, targeted interventions most days. Even if I have just five spare minutes, I can pick it up and work with a pupil.  It ensures everyone progresses with their reading.”

Lexplore Intensive is currently available for download as a paper workbook. From October 2020 it will be available digitally from Lexplore Analytics’ new online portal.

Lexplore Intensive is available free of charge to existing Lexplore Analytics assessment users and also available to purchase as a stand-alone reading development and intervention programme. Teachers and school leaders can find out more about Lexplore Intensive at  https://www.lexplore.com/gb/lexplore-intensive/