Government drops expectation of daily checks on isolating pupils

The government has ditched official advice stating teachers should “ideally” check in with isolating pupils every day.

Instead, schools are expected to check on whether children are engaging with work “at least weekly”, new guidance on remote learning states.

As previously reported by Schools Week, the new guidance states primary schools are expected to set, on average, a minimum of three hours a day of remote education for isolating pupils.

This is increased to four hours per day at secondary, with “more” for pupils working towards formal qualifications this year.

Previous guidance on remote learning had stated that schools were expected to “ideally” provide pupils “daily contact with teachers”. Schools Week reported last month that this expectation was also included in the draft form of the new guidance.

However, it has been ditched from the final version.

Instead, schools are told to “have systems for checking, at least weekly, whether pupils are engaging with their work, and inform parents immediately where engagement is a concern”.

They should also “gauge how well pupils are progressing through the curriculum using questions and other suitable tasks, and provide feedback, at least weekly, using digitally facilitated or whole-class feedback where appropriate”.

Speaking in the House of Commons today, education secretary Gavin Williamson said that the department will ask schools to set out details of their remote education on their websites “so that parents can better understand their schools’ remote education offer” in the spring term.

Ofsted’s “supportive” monitoring inspections, starting in January for ‘inadequate’ and some ‘requires improvement’ schools, will also focus on issues including remote education.

The inspectorate will also continue to have the power to inspect a school if they have serious concerns – such as safeguarding and provision of remote education.

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