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Remote Education

Question for Department for Education

UIN 133783, tabled on 6 January 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made from previous periods of remote learning of the level of use by (a) schools, (b) pupils and (c) families of (i) Oak National Academy learning, (ii) third party online virtual learning environments, (iii) schools’ own materials, (iv) broadcast TV, (v) BBC Bitesize and (vi) others.

Answered on

14 January 2021

Given the critical importance of ensuring that all children and young people continue to learn during the national lockdown, we have updated the remote education guidance for schools and colleges to clarify and strengthen expectations while on-site attendance is restricted, drawing on our evolving understanding of best practice in remote education.

Schools are expected to provide a set number of hours of remote education for pupils – increased from the government’s previous minimum expectations – that includes time for independent study and also either recorded or live direct teaching. Pupils will be set between three and five hours per day of remote education depending on their age, with daily check-ins on their engagement, and involving the effective use of digital education platforms.

To help schools and colleges meet the remote education expectations set out in guidance, the Government is investing over £400 million to support access to remote education and online social care services. A comprehensive package of support is available to help schools meet these expectations which can be accessed through the Get Help with Remote Education page on GOV.UK: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/get-help-with-remote-education.

The Department has made £4.84 million available for Oak both for the summer term of the academic year 2019-20, and then for the 2020-21 academic year, to provide video lessons in a broad range of subjects for Reception up to Year 11. Since the start of the autumn term, 2,280,706 users have visited the Oak National Academy platform and 12,998,483 lessons have been viewed (as of 4 January 2021). For schools that do not already have a full remote education curriculum or resources in place or where staffing capacity is challenging, we strongly recommend that they consider using Oak National Academy or other high-quality resource providers. We have also published guidance on accessing and buying remote education resources, available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/help-with-accessing-and-buying-resources-for-remote-education.

Support is also available for schools to get set up on Google or Microsoft platforms. These platforms bring together the school community, pool resources and give pupils the opportunity to work with their peers remotely. As of 5 January 2021, 6900 schools have applied to the DfE Digital Platforms programme that forms part of the Get Help With Technology programme.

In addition, the BBC has adapted their education support for the spring term 2021 and will be making educational content available on the television. Bitesize Daily primary and secondary will also air every day on BBC Red Button as well as episodes being available on demand on BBC iPlayer. This TV offer is in addition to the BBC’s online offer, which parents, children, and teachers can access when and where they need it.