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Remote Teaching and Learning

Remote Teaching and Learning


In response to this time of uncertainty regarding school closures, we have formulated this policy to outline how the school will maintain the link between school and home. In the event of another whole or partial school closure, we aim to continue to communicate with our pupils through various means. We recognise that online safety is of huge importance and the aim of this document is to help to protect both school staff and pupils, while teaching and learning online. This policy does not set out to replace our Mobile Device or Acceptable Usage Policy. Rather, it is proposed as an important addition to the area of learning from a digital platform. The policy presented here should be read also in tandem with our school’s Code of Behaviour Policy and Anti-Bullying (including Cyber Bullying) Policy. The primary obligation of all schools is to the welfare of the learners in their school. This policy, therefore, seeks to ensure that remote learning is safe for all student learners and that personal and sensitive data is also protected under GDPR legislation. Schools must ensure that learning takes place in an environment that is respectful and fair and meets its statutory duties.

This Policy has been formulated in accordance with the provisions of the Department of Education and relevant sections of: The Education Act (1998) Education (Welfare) Act (2000) Equal Status Act (2000) Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs Act (2004) Disability Act (2005) Children First Act (2017) GDPR Data Protection Act (2018) Department of Education: Child Protection Procedures for Primary schools NEWB Guidelines for Developing a Code of Behaviour (2008). DES Guidance on Continuity of Schooling for Primary Schools (May 2020) DES Guidance on Continuity of Schooling: Supporting Primary Pupils at very High Risk to Covid 19 (August 2020). Guidance on Remote Learning in a COVID-19 Context: September – December 2020 Updated Guidance on Continuity of Schooling :Supporting Pupils with Special Educational Needs DES January 2021 This is a working document. Technology is constantly changing. As we continue to explore options available to support distance learning, the document will be updated accordingly.


Teaching and Learning is always evolving, especially, as we move deeper into the 21st century. Developments in IT provide us all with great opportunities as learners and teachers. Never before has there been greater scope to learn using technology and it continues to change the learning relationship between teachers and students. Advances in technology mean that assignments can be delivered remotely and that greater access to information on the internet affords the opportunities for real learning to take place under the watchful and professional guidance of the teacher. However, whether a child is being directed remotely or via a traditional classroom environment, it is very important that all partners are aware that once a learning exchange takes place between a student and teacher, whether at home or school, the same rules apply i.e. the school’s Code of Behaviour and all of the school’s policies apply. We recognise that online collaboration is essential for distance learning and that families are in favour of increased opportunities to maintain the connection between school and home . We use a variety of child friendly, online tools, which assist in providing more effective teaching and learning, while also enabling greater communication between staff, families and students.

Guidelines for good online communication

Staff, families and students are expected to behave in an appropriate, safe, respectful and kind manner online and adhere to the guidelines and protocols circulated to all members of the school community. Under no circumstances should pictures or recordings be taken of video calls. It is the duty of parents/guardians to supervise children while they are working online and to ensure that any content submitted to their teacher is appropriate. Staff members will communicate with pupils and their families via Google Classroom, Google Meet, Seesaw, Zoom, Aladdin Connect, and our school e-mail. Students and staff will communicate only using tools which have been approved by the school and of which parents have been notified. Any electronic forms of communication will be for educational purposes and to allow for communication with families. Parental permission will be acquired before setting up a profile for a pupil on a communication forum. Pupils will only be invited to a Google Meet once the circulated guidelines and protocols are accepted by their parents on Aladdin. Once the initial Google Meet permission has been obtained, parental permission is implied for all further Google Meets. For security reasons, passwords will be provided to families, where applicable. We at St. Columba’s cannot accept responsibility for the security of online platforms, in the event that they are compromised.

Media which will be primarily used by the school: Aladdin Connect

Staff will communicate regularly with parents and pupils via Aladdin Connect. All families are asked to download the Aladdin Connect App and to check it daily for updates and important information. E-mail: Parental enquiries should go through the school email address Parental queries will be addressed during school hours only (9:00-2:40) and should relate strictly to your child's teaching and learning.

Google Classroom: (also includes Google Meet where appropriate). Google Classroom is an online platform which enables pupils to connect to their folder of work and to access their teacher when required. Some lessons may be pre -recorded and uploaded on Google Classroom. Google Meet: Google Meet is a video-conferencing platform which will enable teachers, staff and pupils from second class and upwards to connect via a live link. Teachers will connect with pupils using pre-arranged Google Meetings’ links.

Seesaw: another platform for children to engage in learning online. Currently we are using it with the children from Junior Infants, Senior Infants and First Class. Zoom or What’s App Video Calls.These platforms will be used by SET (Special Education Teachers and SNAs (Special Needs Assistants) with their pupils with parental permission. Links will be sent via parents. Google Meets may also be used.

Rules for pupils using online communication for submitting learning: Submit work and pictures that are appropriate - have an adult take a look at your work before you send it. Use kind and friendly words. For video calls/Google Meet: Remember to ensure you join each Google meeting using your family name. Pictures or recordings of the video call are not allowed. Remember our school rules - they are still in place, even online. Set up your device in a quiet space, with no distractions in the background. Join the video with your microphone muted. Raise your hand before speaking, just like you would do in class. If you have the chance to talk, speak in your normal voice, using kind and friendly words. Show respect by listening to others while they are speaking. Ensure that you are dressed appropriately for the video call. Be on time - set a reminder if it helps. Enjoy! Don’t forget to wave hello to everyone when you join!

Guidelines for parents and guardians for learning

It is the responsibility of parents and guardians to ensure that pupils are supervised while they work online. Check over the work which pupils send to their teacher, ensuring it is appropriate. Continue to revise online safety measures with pupils. For video calls/Google Meet Under no circumstances should pictures or recordings be taken of video calls. Ensure that the school has the correct email address for inviting you to join apps and meetings. The main purpose of a video call is to engage in online learning activities while maintaining a social connection between the school staff and pupils. Encourage pupils to listen and enjoy the experience. Be aware that when participating in group video calls, you can be seen and heard unless you are muted or have disabled your camera. Follow the Google Meet invitation link you have been sent to join the meeting via google classroom streaming page . Please note that the link to the meeting will not work unless you are an invited guest to the Google Meet by the host/teacher. Please ensure your child is on time for the scheduled Google Meet. Please login via your school network email address and follow the Google Meet link approximately five minutes before the scheduled meeting time. Please wait for the host to start the meeting. Make sure to familiarise your child with the software in advance. For video in particular, show them how to mute/unmute and turn the camera on/off. Participants in the call should be dressed appropriately. An appropriate background/room should be chosen for the video call. For detailed information on GDPR, please visit the school website. Any breach of the above guidelines will result in a discontinuation of this method of communication. It may also result in a person being immediately removed from a meeting or a meeting being terminated.

Remote Teaching and Learning Protocols for Pupils

Check assigned work each school day Communication may only take place during normal school hours The normal school calendar will apply The following school policies apply to remote teaching and learning: Code of Behaviour Anti- Bullying Policy Acceptable Use Policy Teaching and Learning best practice will continue to apply, with students expected to present all assignments to the best of their ability and on time, where possible in this evolving and unprecedented situation. In so far as possible, provision for SEN students will be made when using Remote Learning methodologies. SNAs will be involved if applicable. In so far as possible, provision for students at very high-risk to Covid 19 will be made when using Remote Learning methodologies.

Remote Teaching and Learning Protocols for Parents

We ask parents/guardians to ensure protocols for students are adhered to. Check-in on their child’s school work on a daily basis and talk to their child about the work being assigned. The health and wellbeing of all is paramount. Circumstances may change for any of us unexpectedly, teachers or parents, so please keep schooling in perspective and do not allow anything school related to impinge on your child negatively. You are the primary educator of your child and you make those calls. We encourage a little work every week day for routine. We provide work and guidance and ask parents and pupils to do their best and that is all. 8. Remote Teaching and Learning Protocols for Teachers/SNAs Check uploaded work daily Communication generally may only take place during normal school hours Normal schools hours will apply The normal school calendar will apply The following school policies apply to remote teaching and learning: Child Protection Policy Data Protection Policy Teaching and Learning best practice will continue to apply with students expected to present all assignments to the best of their ability and on time, where possible. Relevant feedback will be provided by the class teacher and the Special 

Education Teacher on an ongoing basis.

Remote Teaching and Learning Provision specifically for the following Covid 19 related scenarios

A. Provision for children who are at very high risk to Covid 19: The school will engage directly with relevant parents, regarding remote educational provision for children who are deemed to be at very high risk to Covid-19 (see HSE Guidelines) where medical certification has been provided to the school.

B. Provision for all other children who are instructed to self-isolate or restrict their movements by their GP or HSE Public Health, educational provision will be provided as follows: Children who are awaiting Covid 19 test results for themselves or a family member and have been instructed by their GP to isolate at home for a few days. These pupils will be supported to catch up on their learning on their return to school. Children isolating at home on instruction from their GP due to a confirmed case within their own family/close contact outside of school (14-day isolation period). These pupils will be supported to catch up on their learning on their return to school. Children receiving SNA support will be offered regular contact while at home from their SNA who will provide assistance and encouragement and offer further social contact with the school.

C. School bubble (whole class) instructed by HSE Public Health to self-isolate (14 day isolation period). The class teacher will be required to provide remote/distance teaching to all the pupils in the class using the school’s digital platforms or other agreed method as needed. Children receiving SNA support will be offered regular contact from their SNA who will provide encouragement and assistance and offer further social contact with the school.

D. Whole school closure as instructed by HSE Public Health (duration of closure will be advised by Public Health) Teachers will engage with pupils, using a blended approach of pre-recorded lessons, Google Classroom, Seesaw and contact on Google Meets. Where pupils are in receipt of learning support, the Special Education Teacher will assign and correct work sent electronically in collaboration with the class teacher. The SET (Special Education Teacher) will link in with the pupil via Google-Classroom, Google meet, Seesaw and e-mail . Children receiving SNA support will be offered regular contact from their SNA who will provide assistance and encouragement and offer further social contact with the school. Please note that the current situation is quite fluid and these circumstances may vary throughout the year.

Summary: Please keep abreast of postings on the school website. Be guided by the work set by your child’s teacher/s. Families are only expected to do what they can, given their particular set of circumstances. We place great value on talking to your child and reading for them and with them as well as encouraging them to read independently. We ask parents/guardians, students and teachers to ensure protocols are adhered to at all times. If you have yet to connect to any of the on-line platforms, please do so. If you are experiencing difficulties please email the school and we will assist you in any way that we can and please contact the school with any further queries you may have. We thank the school community for adhering to the above guidelines for everyone’s safety and welfare. This plan was ratified by the BOM of St. Columba’s N.S. and is subject to change, in light of any guidance or instruction received from the Department of Education and Skills/HSE Public Health.

Recommended Apps In addition we suggest the following Apps for your child’s use too, if you can access them. If not, do not worry, they are helpful but not essential. ● Cúla 4: Excellent for younger pupils for Irish vocab – very child friendly. There are also videos of your children’s favourite cartoons here as Gaeilge which would be useful to watch occasionally to keep up with Irish. ● Doulingo: most suitable from 2nd class upwards. Excellent app. Tests your child Irish ability level at the start and they work away at their own level for 10mins daily. ● Mathduel: For tables. Fun and interactive. ● Starfall: For spellings. Again, very child friendly and useful to keep spellings progressing without feeling like schoolwork. ● Jolly Phonics App: to keep up phonics learning for infant classes. ● Dolch words Apps (there is a wide range available): for the development of sight words. ● Nessy Apps: for reading for pupils with dyslexia or difficulties. ● PinkFong: Digital stories for infant classes. Excellent and engaging. ● Khan Academy: Useful for maths for older pupils especially. ● Kahoot: for general knowledge and quizzes. ● Toontastic: probably the best app ever for digital storytelling – pupils can devise their own digital story, picking a range of characters, settings, even musical background. They plan a beginning, middle and end to their story and can record their own voices to tell the story. ● Puppetpals: similar to toontastic – useful for younger pupils. They can record themselves telling the story also. ● Lightbot – Coding app – super for all ages.

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