Headteacher’s update – remote learning

Headteacher’s update – remote learning

Several weeks have now passed since schools closed and students have been adjusting to the unique challenges of remote learning.

We are hugely grateful for the feedback we have received from parents and students about the work we are setting and how students are managing. We gain really useful insights about what is working well and what problems are being experienced by our students.  We then share this with all teachers and work together to try and devise solutions that improve our provision. 

Some teachers are setting work at the beginning of each week for students to work on throughout the week whereas others are setting work on the specific days that the students would normally have that lesson if in school.  I understand that this can be confusing for students and we are working to ensure a consistent approach. 

My advice to all students is to:

  • work from 9-3 each day, including a 20 minute break in the morning and a one hour break for lunch. 
  • log in to Show My Homework every weekday morning, check what has been set on their homework calendar for that day and try their best to do that work. 
  • set a maximum time limit of 45 minutes per piece of work set and stop working once they get to the time limit – even if they have not finished.  This allows them time to submit the work they have managed to do to their teachers if required.  It also allows them a brief break before opening the next piece of work.

Most importantly, we certainly do not want our students to experience any sense of stress or anxiety about their home learning.  If your son or daughter is struggling, please pass on my personal reassurances that there is no need to feel anxious or concerned about completing all work on their SMHW calendar. 

If students in years 7-9 are struggling, please ask them to focus on only completing English, maths and science work each week.  If they find this manageable they could also select one other subject that they particularly enjoy and complete that work too.  You do not need to worry that by doing this your child will fall behind their peers: at the College we fully understand how challenging independent learning is and when we do return to College we will work out what children have learned and what their knowledge gaps are so that we can ensure content is retaught as required. If completing three/ four subjects per week is still too much, please contact your son/daughter’s tutor or HLoL and they will help. It would be a good idea for year 9 students to focus only on the subjects they have chosen as their options in year 10 in addition to English, maths and science. 

We would like our GCSE students to try to keep up with all of their GCSEs, but not at the expense of their wellbeing.  As stated above, I advise that they work from 9-3 each day, spending no longer than 45 minutes on each subject. If they cannot complete their work in that time then they should just submit what they have managed to do to their teacher. If they are worried, they can email their class teacher, tutor or HLoL who will help.

Teachers at the College have also had to adapt to setting remote learning and adjust how much work we set.  Our general rule is that we aim to set an amount of work that we would expect to take 30 minutes to complete if in school; this is because we think that a lot of children will take twice as long to complete work independently.  However, we know that some students are able to complete work quite quickly.  If your son/daughter needs more work to keep them occupied, please email their HLoL who will forward your request to their class teachers.

There are also lots of optional extras on SMHW that teachers have set to try and enhance the experience of students.  Show My Homework colour codes homework and optional tasks are usually coloured purple so if your child feels overwhelmed by the calendar they can ignore those. Likewise, if students are completing work quickly, they can look at the purple tasks and try to complete the extra tasks.

Mrs Lockett has been coordinating the remote learning for me so if you have any specific feedback about what is helping your child to learn or problems you have encountered please email her at lockett.c@torpoint.cornwall.sch.uk.

As I am sure you are aware, the Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has said the reopening of schools in England is expected to take place in a “phased manner” starting with only some year groups. The date of reopening schools will be based on scientific advice and it was communicated that schools would get as much time as possible to plan this phased reopening in order to apply social distancing rules for the safety of students, their families and staff.

With my very kind regards.

Jeremy Plumb