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As part of NRCSE, we have been working with Securing Success to develop these working guidelines for supplementary schools. Securing Success is a charity funded to support the supplementary school sector in Harrow.

Our wider policies around online safety can be found, here.

During the Corona virus Pandemic all schools need to make alternative arrangements for maintaining a level of education for pupils. They rely on the support of parents/carers for this to be effective. Supplementary schools can extend their invaluable work in a similar way. Considerations have to be made regarding the delivery of a curriculum through information technology. This is a new approach and learning experience, so there should be realistic expectations for parents, children and teachers. Supplementary school teachers need to be patient with managers while systems evolve and to support one another.

To continue as much of the supplementary school core provision for children and families as possible while adhering to essential good practice, including:

The Aim

  • data protection
  • safeguarding children and adults
  • transparency i.e. informing stakeholders as needs and circumstances change

Teaching Remotely

As part of this new approach to teaching schools might offer:

  • on-line resources and activities
  • advice and guidance to parents on ways to encourage children’s learning and growth
  • signposting to helpful and appropriate websites
  • live, online tuition through video conferencing platforms such as Zoom
  • pre-recorded teaching sessions and downloadable resources

Considerations for Families

This is an exceptional time which is placing families under extreme pressure. It is important not to add to the stress. Therefore, activities should be:

  • achievable within the home setting
  • able to be completed by the young person without excessive support from the parent
  • enjoyable for parents if they are to be involved in assignments
  • accessible to all your pupils, including those who do not have a strong Wi-Fi signal which will be required for Zoom, Skype, Google hangouts or other video conference calling, but not necessarily for normal internet surfing

Protocols for Using the Internet

These are some basic points to follow:

  • parents must be fully aware of what the supplementary school intends to provide
  • parents should give written or recorded consent at the start of the new approach
  • there should be opportunities to ask questions at the start and throughout the entire period of lockdown whilst the school is operating remotely
  • teachers should, where possible, use the supplementary school IT equipment.
  • teachers must not use any personal contact details i.e. no personal e-mail addresses or phone numbers
  • emailing should take place between the parent and the teacher only, using the supplementary school email. If there isn’t one, an email should be created
  • communication should be with pupils, parents and teachers, not between children or families (ie. anything about teaching, about the school – must go through the ‘school’ )
  • no personal data should be emailed or given on line
  • if anything is posted teachers must remember to respect the copyright, intellectual property rights and privacy policies

Delivering Learning Activities

Consider:

  • the adaptions you will need to make to the way you usually teach e.g. movement restrictions and the capacity for interaction between pupils
  • the specific issues of behaviour management with a class of children responding from different spaces i.e. the home setting
  • the impact of switching children off from a remote class in the short and long term i.e. the need for a personal approach to greeting them warmly at the start and to signing off in a friendly manner at the end of a session
  • the varied home environments of your pupils, their parents’ work activities and the impact Covid-19 is having on family life
  • the NSPCC in partnership with O2 has got lots of information about all the different Apps your child/ren may be using and how to make sure they are safe doing so.

Different Ways of Teaching Remotely

When teaching remotely the teacher should consider:

  • pre-recording classes so children can watch at different times with their parents or siblings
  • setting and sending homework via your school/organisation’s email or WhatsApp
  • providing shorter 10-15 minute catch-up sessions

Holding Live Group Sessions Via The Internet

In addition to the methods above, many schools are starting to hold live group sessions. In order to do this appropriately the teacher will need to:

  • set a time for the meeting so there is a regular routine. This might be best at the normal supplementary school time. Remember parents themselves may need the computer for home working
  • keep the sessions a reasonable length of time so that the rest of the family can get on with their day, remember also that remote teaching can be very static and we all need to move around
  • switch off directly the remote teaching session is finished
  • wear appropriate clothing and tell the children they must too, as must any other adult who might inadvertently appear on screen at either home
  • be aware of the setting i.e. a teacher should not be speaking to a child in their bedroom or from the teacher’s own bedroom. Think about what is on the wall behind you or in the room generally
  • make sure all language is appropriate and professional, including that used by parents (a tactful reminder may need to be given in the initial dialogue with parents)
  • remember as teachers you are modelling safe procedures
  • remember that some children will find the new way of working a challenge. Teachers should think about how they will support children with special educational needs. They should encourage parents to be patient and be ready to give them strategies for helping and praising their children
  • use video conferencing software that enables the teacher to have secure meetings, where participants can only join if they are invited and where the teacher has to accept each participant in the ‘room’
  • Be aware of ‘Zoom Bombing’ – uninvited participants entering the teaching ‘space’. This can happen on any conference platform if the security measures are not understood and followed  https://www.howtogeek.com/667183/what-is-zoombombing-and-how-can-you-stop-it/
  • consider videoing the meetings so they may be reviewed later if issues arise, if you are going to do this you must:
    • ensure that the parental consent obtained at the start is kept securely with the recordings on an external drive
    • keep a note of date, time and length of the meetings plus those who attended
  • consider who will help parents if they are having difficulty operating Zoom or other video conferencing platforms

Social Media

Social Media channels should not be used i.e. Facebook and Instagram, unless they are official i.e. NRCSE or your organisation’s account. The pupils and their families should not have access to details of the teacher’s private life and teachers should be mindful of what they post on social media sites. They should not advertise their supplementary teaching job on their own social media pages.

Children should not be exchanging personal details including social media links with each other unless it is with parental agreement at some other time.

If you do use an official Facebook account be vigilant when posting images of activities to ensure information is not collected and misused later:

That means ensuring that children are:

  • not named
  • are appropriately dressed
  • are not in their bedrooms
  • are not sharing personal information

N.B. The initial agreement with parents should include permission for posting images of their children where applicable to the work of the school.

Safeguarding

Parents need to know when online meetings are scheduled and who will be appearing, name, role in the school etc. They need to know what to expect and should be invited to meet the teacher initially on line.

A conversation should be had with parents and children highlighting that this is a specific activity and they should not be talking to anyone else in this way, unless it is with parental consent.

This conversation can be used as an opportunity to remind parents about radicalisation (Prevent), cyberbullying, grooming, ICT based sexual exploitation, pornography etc. and what the signs of harm may be and who may be contacted. Parents should be asked to reinforce safe on line procedures at home. It could be suggested that they interact with what the children are viewing on line.

As part of the supplementary school’s safeguarding guidance teachers should be made aware of what should be reported and to whom. A clear message should be sent out that it is better to say something than not to.

If teachers are signposting to websites they must make sure they have checked them out and are sure they are appropriate. Children should not be researching randomly on line as this may lead them to dangerous sites.

An online risk assessment should be developed for the supplementary school.

The Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) command of the National Crime Agency has excellent resources to help you and your pupils think more about online safety. They are also providing weekly activities https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/resources and have lots of helpful information for parents https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/parents/

What to Do If There Are Concerns

Children may want to express their feelings at this very difficult time. Issues may emerge which cause concern. If a teacher does have concerns about child protection or the family as a whole there should be a designated person from the organisation whom they can contact.

If you have any concerns about online activity that your pupils have been accessing or about people contacting your children online through platforms that you are using, report it to CEOP, National Crime Agency.

There are various training courses on line regarding on line safety e.eg NSPCC ‘on line safety’ for which there is a charge of £35. NSPCC also have plenty of free downloadable resources to help you keep children safe. The Young People’s Foundation in your local borough and other local infrastructure organisations are also offering guidance on online safety.

Signposting On the Internet

Holding live classes via Zoom or on an other video conferencing platform is one method of communicating, but in some situations it might not be the most effective.

It may be relevant to set some homework activities as a follow up or as an alternative. If so, the parent should know what that involves. Activities could be posted on websites or emailed to parents as attachments. Any sites recommended should be researched for relevance and suitability. Sometimes the language or the methods used might be different from the English system e.g. there are a great many American websites with good ideas which teachers could use, but would not be suitable for children to visit.

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