Remote Learning

The Holy Cross School Digital Strategy places us as a school in a very strong position to meet the needs of our girls during periods of isolation and/ or school closures. Through a rigorous programme of staff professional development in digital technologies, and our 1:1 device scheme, we are fully prepared to continue to deliver our full curriculum in the event of school closures or individual/ group isolation periods. 

There is no delay to our remote learning provision – it starts the moment an isolation period starts, and from Day 1 of a school closure. Our remote learning provision is equivalent to a full school day, ie for five hours every day. We are flexible on homework provision during full school closures as we aim to reduce screen time for our students. 

Google Classroom

Google Classroom is the platform we have been using for a number of years to set homework and share materials, and during periods of remote education staff will use this platform to communicate all remote learning assignments, materials and deadlines via the Google Classroom for each subject. In addition our School Chaplain, form tutors and Directors of Year use Google Classroom to continue to deliver pastoral care and spiritual guidance. Google Classroom also enables staff to assess and give regular feedback. Parents and carers have access to Google Classroom guardian summaries which provide a weekly outline of the assignments and any outstanding deadlines.

A Blended Approach

We continue to commit to high standards of teaching and learning for our students, whilst also supporting their mental health and wellbeing. The Holy Cross School offers a blended approach to remote learning, with daily live registrations to start each day, some live lessons, recorded videos, use of the Google Suite apps and subscriptions to high quality online resources such as Kerboodle and GCSE Pod. Alongside this we are encouraging our students to have regular screen-free time, to continue to hand-write some work to maintain their handwriting, and to read for learning and for pleasure. 

Full-time video lessons lead to an unhealthy level of screen time for our young people, which is why we have opted for a blended approach. The OFSTED guidance linked at the bottom of this page supports this approach. We are very mindful that many of our staff are also juggling family commitments, caring for unwell family members, and we need to support them in their workload during this time. We will continue to review our online learning provision on a regular basis.

Below is a reminder of our remote learning expectations for our community:

Subject teachers

Subject teachers are sharing resources and expectations for all lessons on Google Classroom so that all students can access that work from home. Teachers will respond to any questions on Google Classroom as soon as possible. Subject teachers will use apps such as Loom (video) and Google Slides/ Docs/ Forms to allow students to engage with the materials at their own pace and view them more than once if they need to. In the event that a subject teacher is unwell we will do our best to ensure work is set via Google Classroom, but this will depend on individual circumstances. Following a very successful pilot project on Google Meet for live lessons more staff will be using Google Meet for parts of or whole lessons. Subject teachers will aim to give advance warning of these to help the girls with planning their days, and teachers will also share further expectations for Google Meet lessons, depending on the subject and year group. Many teachers will prefer to record videos or use other materials for their lessons as they know best which methods of teaching will be most effective for their classes.Students will receive regular feedback from their subject teachers and this can be in the form of one-to-one feedback via comments on Google Classroom, marks awarded to their assignments, recorded feedback via “Mote”, or via whole class feedback in a live lesson, on Google Classroom or a Loom recording.

Students

During school closures students should be up and dressed by 8.45am daily and ready to join their live tutor time (morning prayer and registration) via Google Meet at 8.50am. They should use their devices and the books they have available at home to work through their lessons in the timetabled lesson time. They can message their teachers via Google Classroom if they have any questions. They should “submit” work on Google Classroom (this can be via a Google doc, or a photo of the work in their book) so that their teachers know the work has been completed. Students should regularly check their school email address for updates on Google Classroom and work set and/or emails from staff. Students have access to additional advice and guidance on their online “Student Area”. This provides a wealth of support on remote learning, additional learning material, routines, exercise and mental health support.

Students must adhere to the guidance shared by staff for using the “chat” facility on Google Classroom and Google Meet, and for any “live” lessons. Students must be polite and courteous at all times, just as they would be in class. During individual or group periods of isolation students should be ready to complete work set on Google Classroom by the start of Period 1 of their year group’s “staggered” timetable.

Parents and Carers

Support from parents and carers is essential, and they can do this by ensuring their daughter is up, dressed and ready to learn for the start of the day. Parents and carers can encourage their daughters to access work via Google Classroom and contact subject teachers should any problems arise. It is helpful if parents and carers can make the time to look at Google Classroom with their daughters, and encourage them to check their school email regularly. The Form Tutor is the first point of contact for any questions during this time. Google Classroom Guardian summaries are a helpful way to stay in touch with the assignments and deadlines and the school office can be contacted if there are any problems with this. Parents will be notified of any lack of engagement via the weekly Guardian Summaries on Google Classroom, and may also receive direct contact from subject teachers if the student is not responding to their teacher. We expect parents and carers to act on this information to ensure their daughters keep up-to-date with their work. With our recent 1:1 device rollout all students now have access to their own device, but if there are any problems with this parents/ carers should contact the School Office to request IT support.

Timings of the school day

When students are attending school we have a staggered timetable to aid social distancing. During periods of school closure we return to the normal timings of the day, with everyone following the same timetable, and an 8.50am live tutor time for all. This will provide a consistent start to the school day and support parents and carers with routine, which is so important for our girls’ mental health and wellbeing. In addition we are able to start the day in collective worship as we always do at The Holy Cross School. If a student is unwell and therefore cannot attend the registration or complete her work parents/ carers should let us know that she will be absent from her remote learning by following the usual absence procedures.

Support for students with additional needs

Our SENDCo and Learning Support team provide additional help to our students with additional needs in a variety of forms. Our Learning Support Assistants (LSA’s) are present on the subject Google Classrooms and Google Meet live lessons to support the students, and will make calls home to check in and provide tailored support where possible. Subject teachers are also adapting resources and providing support via Google Classroom, bearing in mind the needs of everyone in the class. If parents have any concerns about their daughter’s learning needs being met during this time they can contact our SENDCo via the School Office.

Useful links:

OFSTED guidance Jan 2021: What’s working well in remote education

EEF guidance April 2020: Best evidence on supporting students to learn remotely

DfE guidance Jan 2021 see page 46 for Remote Education

Please find below a list of topics by subject area covered during the Spring and Summer Terms for each year group.