To help you develop your remote teaching plan we’ve combined all the feedback and recommendations from schools using Oak into three stages:

  1. Prepare your curriculum

  2. Prepare your students and parents

  3. Activating your plan

1. Prepare your curriculum

Planning your remote learning curriculum? Consider these steps so you’re ready for an outbreak or where pupils or teachers have to isolate.

How far in advance do you need to plan?

Some teachers have told Oak that, while they know their termly or yearly plans, they take time once a week to identify enough content for the following fortnight.

This means teachers can be flexible with their timetabling and they don’t spend time planning too far ahead only to find they have to reschedule again and again.

Others are choosing to plan up to a term ahead. Consider what would work best for your school.

Decide how to teach

  • How much work will you set in a remote day? You know your students best and whether they are better concentrating on fewer lessons or working through a full timetable of activities to maintain a positive routine. Really positive feedback from the summer term told us how parents and siblings were supporting with lessons - so a conversation with families as to what is manageable and works best for them is recommended.

  • What’s the balance of online and offline work? How many devices are available and do your families have a reliable internet connection? Our Specialist resources are downloadable and a number of schools have printed and posted them to support families (and some students have simply preferred the physical resources to the video lessons).

  • How will you deliver your online lessons - live or prerecorded or a blend? Consider your workload versus the resources already available, and consider how easy it is for your pupils to join you live. Personalising Oak’s resources has proved successful for a number of schools helping to reduce teacher workload whilst making sure students stay connected with their key adults.

Map your curriculum against Oak’s online lessons

When you’re deciding how to teach your pupils, both in the case of individual students or teachers isolating, or in case full bubbles are sent home, Oak’s resources can be a useful tool. Students in specialist settings may be following a very bespoke curriculum so consider how Oak’s resources align with and add to your own school offer.

  • Map your lessons against Oak’s resources to see where you have an online option for pupils at home - you can search by topic as useful content might be covered in another subject area. Also see: How to download a subject curriculum

  • Download and adapt Oak’s resources in line with your own content to meet the needs of your pupils

  • Consider which other resources complement your lessons

Collate and share your remote learning plans

Teachers or classes might have to isolate with no warning. A number of schools have made plans for each of the specialist curriculum areas to help reduce teacher workload and support non-specialists who may need to cover outside of their area of expertise. Having these remote learning plans ready to share at a moment’s notice has been a great support to many colleagues.

Consider noting which pupils will need resources printing off and delivered to their homes.

From staff to governors, parents to pupils, it’s good to let everyone know what you have planned as it will build trust and confidence.

Prioritise routine and structure

Students will all respond differently to the significant change to their routine. Work with families to find a balance that works for their child and supports their emotional wellbeing whilst offering a range of positive learning opportunities. Schools have successfully used social stories to help prepare students for periods of time learning at home.

As well as lessons, we’ve heard how schools are building in time for assemblies and tutor/form groups to keep familiar activities in place and minimise disruption to the flow between school and home.

2. Prepare your students and parents

When you have mapped out your curriculum and decided how you will teach, there are a few practical steps you can take to prepare teachers, pupils and parents ahead of time.

Put your training in place now

Prepare and share your action plan ahead of time, including what everyone in the school community ‘has to do’, should you have to move from school to remote learning within hours. Some steps to take ahead of a lockdown are:

  • Consider knowledge sharing sessions between teachers to share tips for remote learning

  • Make sure parents are aware of your processes for communicating remote learning

  • You may want to consider using some Oak lessons in class to get pupils used to the format.

Prepare your communications with your pupils and parents

Create a simple, step-by-step, template letter which explains what happens if a pupil, bubble or school has to switch to remote learning. We have a template letter you can download and adapt.

Hopefully everyone will be ready to get online as you’ll have practised before anyone has to isolate, but make sure instructions about how to get online are included, and perhaps link to a short video or fuller ‘how to’ steps on your website or VLE.

For each pupil or bubble, include a week or a fortnight’s timetable and links to resources you’ve identified or to your VLE.

Don’t forget to print and share the letter and resources for pupils who you’ve identified as having challenges around internet connection and access to devices.

Plan for different tech capabilities

Not all students will have a device or access to the internet. Our Oak Specialist resources can be downloaded for printing and distribution in these situations. Some students will prefer the video lessons whilst others may respond better to the printed resources.

Work with families and students to find the blended learning approach that best suits them.

Plan for pupils who could struggle

Some students will find having to isolate/lockdown harder than others.

Our specialist curriculum offer provides a range of exciting, engaging learning opportunities across a range of subjects (Numeracy, Communication & Language, Physical Development, Creative Arts and Independent Living alongside our Therapy offer which includes Occupational, Physical, Speech and Language therapies and Sensory Integration.

Some students may benefit from the staff who know them best personalising the resources to best meet their needs and even talk through with a voice or video call.

3. Activating your plan

When you need to activate your remote learning plan, consider these steps for a smooth transition.

Consider how to keep in touch with pupils’ progress

There are a few ways you can keep in touch with pupils about the work they’re undertaking:

  • Parents or siblings could take a photo to share and celebrate completed work / activities

  • Regularly contacting parents to check how pupils are managing with Oak and speaking to the pupil to ask them about their learning and what they enjoyed best

  • Having a teacher available at set times to check in and support learners online

Review your plans and learn from your mistakes and success

Remote learning in these circumstances is new so it’s difficult to predict what might work and what might not, especially with the added pressures specialist settings can face with the lack of routine or contact.

Checking in with staff, parents and pupils about how every stage of your preparation work and contingency plans have landed is really important to success.

We know schools are doing excellent work, and we’re here to support and complement your work.

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