Actions for schools during the coronavirus outbreak
28th April 2020
Schools have been closed for almost 6 weeks now and since the UK lockdown was extended further to support the battle towards coronavirus, schools are unsure when they will next return. Here at Impero, we like you, have many questions. We’ve been keeping up-to-speed with government announcements to help answer the common questions that have been asked by schools and parents during this unprecedented time.
How long will schools be closed for?
Perhaps one of the biggest questions being asked nationally, is when will the schools reopen? Stated to be reviewed alongside the current lockdown extension of May 7th, schools will remain closed until further notice, except for children of key workers and vulnerable children who are encouraged to attend where it is appropriate for them to do so. Schools will only be re-opened when the scientific advice indicates it is safe to do so.
All schools and local authorities should work together to ensure that different settings are supported to stay open wherever possible, taking into account their circumstances and cohort. Local authorities are guided to help coordinate what this means, working with education settings to deliver the services required. That includes academies, the independent sector, and boarding schools.
Are schools expected to provide education as normal to pupils who are in attendance?
In short, the answer is no. Although it is extremely important that students continue to get access to education, there is a greater need to keep the nation safe. The government puts greater emphasis on ensuring that children of critical workers, and vulnerable children, are supervised and properly cared for at education settings. Schools have flexibility to provide support, activities and education in any way possible however they will not be penalised if they are unable to offer a broad and balanced curriculum during this period.
What educational resources can I share to support students learning at home?
Many schools are already sharing resources with parents and students to ensure young people’s education can continue. The UK Government has created a list of these resources to support this further, this includes:
- A list of educational online resources which have been identified by some of the country’s leading educational experts to help pupils to learn at home https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-online-education-resources/coronavirus-covid-19-list-of-online-education-resources-for-home-education
- Enhanced education provision from the BBC to include daily lessons https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize
- A package of support by the Oak National Academy, a sector led initiative to support teachers educating their pupils remotely during the summer term https://www.thenational.academy/
To help the most disadvantaged young people access online learning, the government have arranged for devices to be ordered for children who would otherwise not have access and are preparing for exams (those student who are in year 10), including those who receive support from a social worker or are a care leaver. For these individuals who also do not have access to the internet, the government will provide 4G routers to them so that they can learn at home.
What advice can schools provide parents and carers to ensure students are safe online?
In their regular communications with parents and carers, schools should highlight that only reputable organisations (those that can provide evidence that they are safe/trusted to educate students) should be used for online learning. The resources listed above are a good starting point for students.
We believe in creating a better and safer internet for students, which is why we’re ensuring our keyword detection functionality can be used in a remote learning environment. Learn how Impero Education Pro can identify vulnerable students online in our remote learning blog: https://www.imperosoftware.com/uk/blog/remote-learning-with-impero-education-pro/
Should schools still have a Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL)?
Ideally, for any school providing care for children, a trained DSL or deputy should be available on site. However, during Covid-19, this may not always be possible, therefore schools should either arrange for a trained DSL or deputy from the school to be readily available via phone or online video, or alternatively, schools can share trained DSLs or deputies with other schools. Further advice on DSL arrangements is available in the recently published safeguarding guidance: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-safeguarding-in-schools-colleges-and-other-providers
Do schools still have to follow Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE)?
Yes. KCSIE is statutory safeguarding guidance that schools should continue to follow, further advice is provided in the safeguarding guidance article above.
Here at Impero, we’ve launched our free-forever digital safeguarding solution Impero Back:drop, to ensure that all schools have the tools they need to safeguard all of their students remotely. Find out more here: https://www.imperosoftware.com/uk/impero-backdrop/
Following cancellation of summer exams, how will students be graded?
When school closures were first announced, so was the cancellation of primary assessments, including SATs, and exams including GCSEs, AS levels and A levels. However, there were little details on how students would be graded. Working with the exam regulator, Ofqual, and exam boards teachers have been asked to provide centre assessment grades for their students.
Teachers should be fair, objective and carefully consider judgements of the grades and highlight what the schools or college believed their students would most likely have achieved if they had sat their exams, taking into account the full range of available evidence. To find out more about how exams will be awarded, follow this link: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/how-gcses-as-a-levels-will-be-awarded-in-summer-2020
Impero’s response to school closures
We’re here to help give you the tools needed to successfully deliver a remote school environment and ensure that safeguarding never stops. Impero Education Pro, our online safety, classroom management and network management solution, enables schools to monitor any remote learning students, using simple virtual learning tools including live thumbnail views, broadcast screen, log viewer, block list and live chat. Read our remote learning blog to find out more about this capability.
Most importantly, we need to ensure safeguarding never stops. Earlier this month, we launched Impero Back:drop our free-forever digital safeguarding solution designed to support schools reporting and managing any student concerns remotely. You can sign-up for free here: https://uk.backdrop.cloud/signup/new
To find out more regarding actions for schools during the coronavirus outbreak, there is further guidance available on the government website here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-school-closures/guidance-for-schools-about-temporarily-closing