Q. Web-based Learning: The VLE is crashing and the speed of connection is very slow.
A. My Learning have tweaked their system and are currently working to improve the service. It was particularly slow today (26/03/2020) – I have sent a support request call with the software developer. It will hopefully improve tomorrow.
Q. Do I have to stick with the structure of the school day? Can this be flexible?
A. We decided to provide a system for students that matched their timetable. This would give students a sense of structure, that the curriculum is sequential (one lesson builds on another) and to enable them to feel they are making progress in their learning. Staff will be flexible with deadlines this week whilst the pattern and routine is established at home. Tutors are contacting their tutees throughout this week to check on any further issues.
Q. Working on the computer all day following the lessons on the VLE is not ideal.
A. We suggest that taking regular eyebreaks to prevent eyestrain Rest your eyes for 15 minutes after two hours of continuous computer use. Also, look for every 20 minutes of computer viewing into the distance for 20 seconds to allow your eyes a chance to refocus.
Q. If the school is closed, how will I get hold of a member of staff?
A. The best way to get in touch is through e-mail on firstname.lastname@example.org for non-urgent contact. The temporary reception number is on the contact page.
Q. What is the benefit of stressing ourselves to get the year 11s to continue with the lessons when they know there are no exams.?
A. My advice is to encourage all year 11 and 13 students to continue with their studies on the VLE as directed by his teachers. The learning content of his GCSE’s are designed as such to help students to progress to more complex learning stages – this could be a level 3 course, an apprenticeship (as this has a training focus and there will be a college component) or university. I know that students who have good exam results have been fast-tracked through the levels of apprenticeships – this means that there would be quicker promotion and pay increases.
Please also take time to review the communication sent to Year 11 and 13 parents on the 24/03/2020. This includes some very sound advice on how to keep up the momentum of learning and ensure students are set on achieving their personal goals.
Q. My son/daughter is planning to apply for an apprenticeship and is not intending to go to college or university next year.
A. . I know that students who have good exam results have been fast-tracked through the levels of apprenticeships – this means that there would be quicker promotion and pay increases. So continuing with and completion of their courses is very important.
A factor to bear in mind as a parent when giving advice to your son/daughter is that there will be a huge impact on the stability of the economy in the short-term and that employers may be more focussed on establishing a consistent and stable work-force themselves after the coronavirus pandemic. This might mean that developing a future workforce may not be their first priority. It might be wise to encourage your son/daughter to have a back-up plan of a place at college or university.
Q. Are universities accepting late applications for study on courses?
A. You can search for available courses on UCAS where you can see what places are available. I would advise giving this some consideration and putting together an application and personal statement if you have not firmed up any further decisions about your plans for next year. It would be comforting for you to know that you have a back-up plan in place.
Q. My son/daughter is continuing with their studies in the sixth form. When can they make their subject choices?
A. The curriculum model is currently being finalised and we are aiming to publish this before the end of April 2020. The students had been guided in assemblies and had information about the general pathways at post 16. A link to the powerpoint can be viewed here. We are also publishing specific curriculum guides for all subjects and expect this to be available after the Easter break.
Q. Are year 11 students going to have a Prom? I’m not sure whether to buy my prom outfit.
A. There will definitely be a celebration event. We hope that it will be the prom at the same planned venue, just later in the year. By the end of May we will have more knowledge about the social distancing issues and will therefore be able to pencil in a new date. We will keep you posted on that.
Q. Can students use MS Teams to connect to teachers.
A. MS Teams is very powerful. Staff have recently been trained in using the VLE version of a screencast solution called MLTV. This enables us to have more management of content and to track engagement. We will however continue to look into it as it does have an application in virtual classrooms.