Snow days melt into the mists of time

Most people can remember listening to the radio or checking their school’s website to see if snow had shut its gates. 

But with the strides in remote learning during the pandemic, could disrupted learning because of the fluffy white stuff be a distant memory?

Dan Bunker, an educational technologist for primary at United Learning, said it has been thinking about the roles digital platforms could have “post-Covid”. In parts of the US, for instance, some schools have “e-learning days”.

Bunker said teachers had told him “snow days” would become a thing of the past. “Everybody will be working remotely when the school is closed for exceptional circumstances.”

“Or if any child is off ill, then we know how to support them remotely. As long as they are physically able to look at a screen and interact in that way, they could be joining their class colleagues in live lessons. We certainly want to keep the best of what we’ve been doing.”

Schools quickly developed their home learning during the first lockdown, evolving it into the autumn term as children and staff began to self-isolate. 

After “dipping their toes” into livesteaming before summer, United Learning now uses it across its 74 academies after seeing how it helped with engagement.

The trust’s minimum expectation for primaries is that schools livestream core subjects to pupils isolating at home. Teachers who are well, but self-isolating, can also broadcast into classrooms.

TeacherTapp survey data from earlier this year shows video conferencing becoming more common: In April 15 per cent of secondary school teachers used it, jumping to 35 per cent in July.

In a survey of 8,000 secondary and sixth-form students by GCSEPod last month, 56.5 per cent said they wanted some or all lessons online. 

Inderjit Sandu, the executive headteacher at Scholars Academy Trust in Leicestershire, said Microsoft Teams would continue to be used for homework. 

“It has also been considered that should schools ever have a closure due to weather or boilers breaking down, the staff will be able to continue with their teaching via Teams and the children would not lose out on a day of learning.”

At Community Schools Trust, evening revision lessons could be set to stay, with 270 students attending Wednesday science revision classes set up during the pandemic. 

Simon Elliott, its chief executive, said: “Most schools haven’t got lecture theatres where they can comfortably sit 270 kids to learn. Maybe we should have thought about it before.”

Your thoughts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *