Preparing for a Successful Return to Class

By engaging pupils in their learning, giving teachers the tools to teach and collecting data on pupils’ home learning, schools can prepare pupils for a successful return to class. Our assessment trackers will help keep on top of pupil progress. In his letter to Ofqual, Gavin Williamson, Secretary of State for Education, highlighted the need for children’s educational progress to face as little disruption as possible.

But in this strangest of times, every aspect of our lives has been disrupted.

Teachers are doing their best to continue teaching against all the odds, with their own children to look after and elderly relatives to support. Meanwhile many pupils are not following the work they are set, due to their own family circumstances.However, there are some simple ways you can keep pupils’ progress moving forwards so the children are ready for some accelerated learning when they’re back in the classroom.

Engage pupils in their learning

Setting up remote learning is uncharted territory for many primary schools, and some schools have put technologies in place rather more swiftly than they would have ever imagined.

But whether you’re using Microsoft Teams, Google Classroom or email to send and receive pupils’ work, you need to keep pupils motivated, interested and engaged in their learning to give them a running start when they get back to school.

The key to remote learning success is the relationships your teachers already have with their pupils.

Encourage your teachers to build on this relationship during isolation by using the communication skills that serve them well in the classroom. Make sure they introduce every task clearly, provide opportunities for pupils to ask questions and explain how pupils should submit their work.

Instead of sending a written explanation, try uploading a video. Hearing and seeing their teacher not only helps pupils engage with the work they’ve been set, it’s a reassuring reminder that their teachers are still thinking about them while the school gates are closed.

Give teachers the tools to teach

The reality is that while children are at home, pupil progress rate will be less than if they were in the classroom with a teaching professional. It’s also likely that some children’s learning will have taken a back seat while families deal with health or financial difficulties.

However, your teachers already know their pupils well and have a good understanding of their abilities, and this will go a long way in helping to set tasks for their pupils while they’re away from school.While it might not be possible to adapt the lesson plans and resources your school had originally intended to use for the summer term, you can still focus on activities which build on pupils’ progress, preparing them for the year ahead.

Your teachers can make use of resources which have been specifically designed for remote learning, but the best materials will have been written by teachers, for teachers.

For example, our Education Advisers created Home Learning Packs for children from EYFS to Year 6. New themes were released fortnightly and are linked to Early Learning Goals and the Primary National Curriculum.

Don’t just mark it, record pupil progress

Away from the classroom, pupils progress with vary, and the gap will inevitably widen for disadvantaged children who are lacking the technology, space or support to learn effectively at home.

That’s why it’s important to collect progress data now to help you set interventions later on.

Rather than simply marking pupils work, take the time to record it and track it over the coming term. This will provide the depth of information you need to identify the additional support to give each child.

It’s very likely that when the pupils return, schools will need to run interventions on a much larger scale than they are used to in order to help children catch up on the learning they have missed. You may find you need to segment pupils into different groups depending on how much they have learnt at home.

Our Top Tip

Make sure your school’s tracking system allows you to easily collect data on pupils’ home learning. It may seem like extra work now, but it will save time on testing, benchmarking and organising intervention groups when you’re back in the classroom.

If you’re using resources aligned with the National Curriculum, this will enable you to potentially record assessments and if possible record evidence of learning in your normal assessment framework mark books. In just a few short weeks schools have embraced the herculean task of setting up distance learning in a hurry, delivering remote lessons and keeping children engaged in activities – all with no clear precedent of how to get it right.

But schools are rising to the challenge.

By keeping pupil progress at the top of the agenda, schools will go a long way towards minimising disruption to children’s education journeys and preparing them to flourish in their learning when they return to school.

Track pupils’ home learning in your assessment tracker