Research School Network: Things for us to consider as we start to reintegrate some pupils back into our classrooms.

Things for us to consider as we start to reintegrate some pupils back into our classrooms.

This week the EEF produced a rapid evidence assessment examining the existing research for all available estimates of the impact of school closure on the gap between disadvantaged pupils and others. Key findings and implications include:

  • School closures are likely to reverse progress made to close the gap in the last decade since 2011.
  • Supporting effective remote learning will mitigate the extent to which the gap widens.
  • Sustained support will be needed to help disadvantaged pupils catch up.

During closures’ schools have been doing their best to support the learning of their pupils at home using a variety of strategies that work best for their context. With the future looking likely to involve a mix of remote and classroom learning, and taking into account the EEF’s key findings above, supporting teachers to provide effective remote learning should indeed remain a Professional Development priority for schools. Evidence informed resources to support schools with this can be found here EEF Covid-19 resources for schools .

As some nursery and pre-school children plus pupils in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 start to return to school, we as a secondary school are planning for some face to face contact with year 10 pupils from 15th June. Reading through the EEF’s rapid assessment, one point particularly stood out to me and made me think: There is a risk that high levels of absence after schools formally reopen poses a particular risk for disadvantaged pupils.’ How then can we plan to maximise the impact of the face to face contact we will have with our Year 10s so that they have the desire’ to return to school as well as the self-regulatory strategies to continue to engage effectively with their remote learning? As is the case with remote learning, supporting teachers with the effective reintegration of pupils into schools also requires some Professional Development.

We are fortunate to have a calendared Professional Day next week which is great timing in terms of providing some support for our staff before some Year 10 pupils return. My SLT colleague who put our 2019 – 20 calendar together would like me to think that in the Summer Term a year ago he pre-empted the need for a Professional day on this date! To support our staff at this time we will be running a choice of webinars focusing on the themes of effective remote teaching’, successful reintegration of Year 10’ and supporting staff and student mental health and wellbeing’. This will be followed by some individual reflection time and some time for departments to discuss and prepare. To stimulate department discussion around each theme we have produced some prompt sheets. The questions posed in the reintegration of Year 10 prompt sheet has been developed through my discussions with colleagues at other local schools, reading blogs on Twitter, the excellent Research Ed Home webinar by Peps McCrea and Caroline Spalding leveraging-the-science-of-motivation-to-optimise-the-return-to-school , and from the two excellent Teacher Development Trust CPDConnectUp webinars I attended over the last couple of weeks (Tom Sherrington: Re-establishing teaching routines’ and Alex Quigley Planning to bounce back from school closures’). These three free webinars provided me with the opportunity to take a step back, reflect and communicate with teachers and school leaders from across the country. A summary of Tom’s session can be found in his blog: re-establishing-teaching-routines

To stimulate some thought, here is the prompt sheet regarding Year 10 re-integration I have put together for our staff. I hope it will be of some use.

Year 10 face to face meetings- How do we make them count?

We will have the opportunity to meet with our Year 10 students over the next few weeks. These face to face meetings will be a chance to reassure students and to set them up with the skills to be able to continue to engage with online lessons for the remainder of the term. How can we maximise the impact of these sessions and ensure that students leave feeling reassured, part of the school community and motivated?

The aims of these face to face sessions are: 

  • To provide the opportunity for face to face interaction with teachers
  • To reinforce effective learning behaviours and strategies that students can use when working at home 
  • To address any misconceptions that students have developed in recent lessons 
  • To offer an opportunity to see teachers and students in a different context 

Ideas for the face to face sessions: 

  • Time for students to chat / share experiences 
  • Wellbeing discussion about the importance of routines, exercise, sleep, diet etc
  • Reflecting on how students are finding the online lessons / work. What are they finding is working well? What are they finding difficult? How could they overcome these problems? 
  • Make sure students are ok in accessing the work, understand how to submit work etc 
  • What strategies they can be using to get the most out of online lessons- e.g organising table / desk, getting book out before lesson, putting mobile phones and distractions away , taking notes whilst teacher is talking etc 
  • An overview of all of the resources currently available for the students in your subject and how to access them. An opportunity to hand out any extra resources that students need. 
  • Effective strategies to support them with independent learning- e.g regular quizzing using their knowledge organiser, revisiting prior topics (spacing)
  • Model these strategies explicitly e.g by doing a retrieval quiz with them, modelling how to do a research task, modelling how to take notes 
  • If you ask students to email you prior to the lesson with any questions about the work they have been doing recently you can unpick misconceptions and reteach / explain the key concepts 

Discussion points for departments: 

  • How can we help each student to feel that they have had some success in our subject over the last few weeks and to therefore keep them motivated? E.g simple quizzes
  • How can we ensure that we don’t panic our students? We want to reinforce the importance of their engagement with online lessons. We should however be realistic about how much work we a setting and reinforce the expectation that they stop at the end of the school day and aren’t given HW. 
  • How can we celebrate the engagement and work produced by students so far? How can we make students perceive that it is the norm to engage with the lessons and to complete the work, but not overwhelm them? 
  • How can we make the visit to school experience as normal as we can? 
  • How can we provide opportunities for students to interact with each other whilst socially distanced? This is what will have been lacking during lockdown. 
  • How can we try and check that each student is able to access the work, has a quiet place at home to work etc? 
  • How can we share the big picture with our students in terms of what they have learned so far this year, what’s coming up in the next few weeks, and what they will be taught next year? 
  • What habits, routines, behaviours (old and new) will we need to establish, reinforce, remind?

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