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Remote Education

Question for Department for Education

UIN 137998, tabled on 14 January 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has of the adequacy of support for parents delivering home learning.

Answered on

19 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. Further information on this is available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/950510/School_national_restrictions_guidance.pdf.

Schools are expected to offer pupils online lessons and a set number of hours of remote education, having increased from the Department’s previous minimum expectations. This includes time for independent study and either recorded or live direct teaching. Schools are also now expected to have a system in place for checking daily whether pupils are engaging actively with their work and education. The Department has also asked schools and colleges to publish information about their remote education provision on their websites. This should be done by 18 January 2021 for colleges and 25 January 2021 for schools.

The Department recognises that different expectations are appropriate for younger and older age groups when undergoing remote education. We expect schools to consider the remote education expectations in relation to pupils’ age, stage of development or special educational needs. The number of hours of remote education we expect schools to deliver also varies according to pupil stage.

The Department also recognises that younger children in Key Stage One or Reception often require high levels of parental involvement to support their engagement with remote education, which makes digital provision a particular challenge for this age group. We therefore do not expect that solely digital means will be used to teach these pupils remotely.

The Department is investing over £400 million to support access to remote education and online social care, including securing 1.3 million laptops and tablets for disadvantaged children and young people. We have already provided over 54,000 4G wireless routers, with free data for the academic year, and have also partnered with some of the UK’s leading mobile network operators to provide free data to disadvantaged families, further supporting remote education where it is needed.

The Department has made £4.84 million available for Oak National Academy, both for the summer term of the 2019/20 academic year, and for the 2020/21 academic year, to provide video lessons in a broad range of subjects, for Reception up to Year Eleven. Specialist content for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities is also available.

The BBC has also 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.

A range of resources are available to help support children’s wellbeing at present. Public Health England has provided advice and guidance for parents and professionals on supporting children and young people's mental health and wellbeing, including suggested key actions to take, such as supporting safe ways to connect with friends. This is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-supporting-children-and-young-peoples-mental-health-and-wellbeing. Resources are also available through the Every Mind Matters campaign and Rise Above, which aim to build resilience and support good mental health in young people aged ten to sixteen specifically. These can be accessed here: https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/ and https://campaignresources.phe.gov.uk/schools/topics/rise-above/overview.

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