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The Buckingham School

The Buckingham School

Mr Fox's letter of 7 January 2021 - Remote Learning

Dear Parent / Carer

Following Mr McGinnes’ letter of 5th January 2021, I am writing to inform you of our remote learning provision for the remainder of this half term, beginning on Monday 11th January 2021.

The remote education that your children are currently receiving was only ever designed to be a two-week provision. As this lockdown period will take us to at least February half term, we needed a provision that would allow greater flexibility for remote learning over a longer period of time. 

The reasons for changing our provision fall into three main categories:

  1. Many of our staff are at home with their own young children and asking them to offer live lessons for every lesson is unattainable. Please note that many primary schools are not admitting our staff’s children when they are at home.
  2. Screen time: We are certain that you would not be happy with us directing your children to spend five and a half hours of screen time on top of their leisure use. Therefore, we need to find a balance where they can be away from their screens for a while.
  3. Uneven access to technology across our community represents a huge challenge for some. Siblings sharing devices and parents sharing devices in homes alongside poor internet connectivity in some areas must be considered. There are issues that we can try to support with but are unable to solve fully. 

The leaders of the school have met a number of times this week to discuss remote provision and the many differing needs of all of our community. Being in school provides a level playing field for all students and staff - they access the same resources across the same timeframe. Going to remote learning makes this more difficult but we believe that the provision we have agreed on provides the best solution for all. 

I have outlined our offering below. All students will experience some live learning and the timetables of when these live sessions will take place will be on the school website under the heading ‘Coronavirus Info’ and then ‘Distance Learning Resources’.  Click here. They will be available by 4pm on Friday 8th January. Alongside the live lessons will be tasks set on Google Classroom. Work will be set daily by 8.30am for lessons that students would ordinarily have on that day. 

Form Tutor Period:
All students will start the day with a live form time at 8.35am. This is so important for so many reasons such as a friendly face in the morning, routine and welfare checks. This has been a highlight of remote learning so far.

Key Stage 3 students (Years 7, 8 and 9):
Our students in Key Stage 3 have the broadest curriculum and range of subjects in the school. We will be providing one live lesson per subject per week to students in these Year Groups, alongside set tasks on Google Classroom. This still represents a significant live learning offer and your child will still be expected to engage with learning for a total of 25 hours per week.

Year 10 and 12 students:
Our students in Years 10 and 12 have a more specialised curriculum and will be offered two live lessons per subject per week as a minimum, alongside set tasks on Google Classroom. Given the stage of their schooling we would expect them to exceed 25 hours of learning per week. 

Year 11 and 13 students:
With uncertainty surrounding how these students will be assessed and the evidence that may be needed to support it, we will continue to begin every lesson live with these students as we continue to prepare for their mock exams and their next steps. We would expect these students to continue the excellent engagement they have already shown this week and comfortably exceed the 25 hours of learning per week. 

In all Year Groups, attendance to live learning will be tracked by teachers and Form Tutors.  Completion of work will also be tracked and reported via Go4Schools. 

Your child should receive one contact per week (minimum) from the school – from either their Head of Year, Form Tutor or Key Worker, to check on their wellbeing. 

The students have started this term brilliantly in their remote learning and we would like to thank them, and you, for your support and efforts and look forward to continuing this as we move forwards. As always, if you have any questions or issues, please do not hesitate to contact us at the school. 

We know you will appreciate the considerations that have gone into making these decisions around remote learning for our community, as we put in place a system that is viable for all. We hope that your child will receive the same message that leaders try to reassure our staff with: “your best will always be good enough”. 

With my best wishes,

Mr D Fox, Deputy Headteacher - Teaching and Learning