Report of the Chief Standards Officer
In presenting the report, Officers advised that assessments had taken place during September to guide the recovery curriculum and the most significant concerns were for phonics and reading in primary schools. In respect of secondary schools, the main focus was on year 11 and 6th forum pupils sitting external exams. New content was being added to plug gaps in the curriculum and remote learning had improved significantly to ensure that students were not disadvantaged through more face to face teaching, uploaded videos and frequent monitoring of provision. This remained a high priority for all schools and Officers acknowledged the progress thus far, although there was still much to do meet achieve further improvements and meet expectations for remote learning.
In response to questions from Members, Officers advised that technology had posed significant challenges for learning. For example, although all NCS students had their own individual device, provision varied across other schools. Where possible, older equipment was being recommissioned to support learning but there were also pressures on parents, some of whom were not engaged with remote learning. Furthermore, not all It equipment to support remote learning had been collected by pupils/parents. Schools were exploring extra resources and more expedient deployment of equipment and mechanisms to engage parents in supporting remote learning.
Notwithstanding technical challenges, there were concerns that prior to the summer break, only 35% of pupils were accessing online learning and schools were looking at how best to improve pupil and parental engagement. Schools were recommended to manage remote learning in the same way as actual learning by for example calling a register at the beginning of lessons. The importance of live learning and uploading lessons/learning resources was also emphasised.
Schools were working closely with families and had done well to stay open; some schools had been able to offer hybrid learning so that self-isolating pupils could participate in lessons remotely and this practice should be reflected across all schools. A learning audit was being undertaken to identify gaps in provision so that appropriate measures could be put in place.
Members wished to place on record their appreciation of the efforts to support learning in challenging circumstances and commended Billy Harvey, Director of IT for being so pro-active in addressing the IT challenges of hybrid/remote learning.
1. That the report be noted.
2. That the Committee place on record its thanks to Billy Harvey, Director of IT for being so pro-active in addressing the IT challenges of hybrid/remote learning.
3. That an update on progress be presented to the Board of Trustees on 11th December 2020.