Unfortunately, on Tuesday 17th March 2020 we were told that we were classed as ‘clinically vulnerable’ to Covid-19 due to underlying health conditions and would have to work from home for the next 12 weeks.
Fortunately, this gave us a unique opportunity to continue to make a valued contribution to our school community and on Wednesday 18th March 2020 we delivered our first ‘live lesson’ – a simple story and quiz for children who were also shielding at home.
This was to be the beginning of a journey into ‘remote learning’ for Mossend PS & NC in North Lanarkshire: a journey which would last 13 weeks and see our team deliver nearly 200 live lessons. These lessons ranged from Literacy, Numeracy & Mathematics to STEM & HWB as well as Weekly Challenges and Expressive Arts. We uploaded countless resources and actively engaged with pupils across all stages.
From the offset, we met virtually to plan our strategy which revolved around 4 key principles ‘FAST, which became our strategy.
This was an unprecedented set of circumstances and we decided from the beginning that our approach had to be flexible. There would be some families who would benefit from a structure and routine, others who would need resources for their own time and others who would do their own thing. All of this was fine, but as a school, we needed to be there to support all our families with the path they chose. Our Motto became, ‘Do what works for you!’
This would be key to engaging learners, families and staff who were operating a wide range of devices and operating systems and had a wide range of ICT skills between them. Passwords, logins, applications, file formats all had to be assessed against this principle.
Parents and carers were about to become the ‘teacher’. Our role needed to adapt to facilitate learning remotely in a supportive manner that empowered and reassured families. Communication needed to be at the heart of this.
This was a fast changing landscape and therefore for us to support our learners in the best way possible decisions had to be made in a timely manner and we had to ensure we continue to look ahead to stay ahead. We met virtually twice per week to discuss digital learning, adapt, and change our approach.
We are very aware that we ended up in the unfortunately fortunate position of being able to get ‘ahead of the game’ and plan a strategy for remote learning suited for our own context. We understand that this may not have been possible for the vast majority, however, we hope that by sharing our experience others will be able to see where elements could fit into their own context and help build confidence and sustainability as we move forward into unchartered territory in learning and teaching.
Over the next 8 weeks we plan to blog in more detail about some of the decisions we made for digital learning at Mossend Primary School and Nursery Class:
9th August – Self Assessment with HGIOS4.
16th August – Blended learning next session.
Patricia McKay is the Depute Head Teacher at Mossend PS & NC in North Lanarkshire and Gordon Reid is a class teacher and ICT Co-ordinator. Together they facilitated and led the remote learning strategy for the school.
Mossend PS & NC is a non-denominational school situated in Bellshill, North Lanarkshire. The school has 382 pupils and there are 40 children in the nursery attached to the school.