Results of Parental Survey - Remote Learning

Thank you to those parents that submitted a response to our survey about remote learning. At the time of writing we have had 485 responses. A summary of the findings is below.

1, My child has been able to access remote learning. Agree 97.7%, Neutral 1.9%, Disagree 0.4%

2. My child has had access to 4 (or more) hours remote learning per school day. Agree 93%, Neutral 3.5%, Disagree 3.5%

3. I support the method of remote learning Balcarras is offering its pupils. Agree 91.9%, Neutral 6.6%, Disagree 1.5%

4. I feel the hours of remote learning per day is: Too high 8.7%, About right 89.6%, Too Low 1.7%

5. Under the circumstances I would rate Balcarras' efforts to deliver remote learning as. Very good 67.4%, Good 29.3%, Neutral 2.1%, Poor 1%, Very poor 0.2%

6. My child takes regular planned breaks away from the computer/tablet/phone during the school day. Agree 61.9%, Neutral 23.4%, Disagree 14.7%

7. My child carries out at least one physical activity during each day. Agree 55.2%, Neutral 21.3%, Disagree 23.6%

8. I have worked with my child to plan a well-structured day that has appropriate breaks, physical activities, lessons and relaxation time and generally my child is following this schedule each day. Agree 59%, Neutral 25.4%, Disagree 15.6%

9. Suspending the homework timetable (Years 7 to 11). Has been: Helpful 74.3%, Neutral 20.9%, Unhelpful 4.8%.

10. Balcarras has switched off pupil cameras to prevent any inappropriate images being shared accidently or images of pupils being captured and shared without their consent Agree with this policy 78.6%, Neutral 13.2%, Disagree with this policy 8.2%

11. During some remote lessons pupils may have technical issues (these are usually due to slow internet connections or national load on Microsoft Teams). While teachers will try and support pupils when these issues occur they are often outside of the schools control. Understand this 93.6%, Neutral 5.3%, Too many technical issues 1%

12. As part of its remote learning Balcarras is delivering a tutor led session on pupil wellbeing (20th Jan). What is your opinion of about sessions such as these? More sessions like this 38.8%, One session every few weeks is enough 59.1%, No need for sessions like this 2.1%

We received 282 comments and suggestions. It is not possible to address each one individually but bellow are some areas that were commented on more frequently and the response from Balcarras.

Pupils not having time for / wanting to exercise: 

As a school we made the decision to keep our standard school day to provide structure and a clear breaktime and lunchtime. During the pupil well-being session, we will highlight to pupils that they should take break times and lunchtimes as an opportunity to move away from their computers/phones/tablets and if possible, take some time outside.

We will also encourage pupils to stop working at 3.35 and use the hour of light available to again get outside where possible.

PE will offer pupils the chance to exercise outside and set fitness challenges.

The need for split lunches and breaks:

The school still has a full complement of staff and a significant number of pupils on site. Keeping the split break and lunchtime allows those in school to socially distance during these times and so protect their health.

Concerns about screen time:

We share the concerns raised by some about the amount of screen time pupils remote learning are exposed to. Little conclusive research exists on this topic. The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health carried out an analysis on the research available in 2019 and its conclusions can be found here.

There are no clear guidelines on an amount of time that is suitable but it seems obvious that regular breaks from the screen can only be a good thing. At the points in the timetable where pupils have 2 consecutive hours of lessons we will ask teachers to finish their lessons early, when possible, to allow pupils some time away from their screens.

Pupil video:

While 79% of respondents agreed with the decision to switch off cameras for pupils 8% asked us to reconsider this decision or asked if cameras could be switched on for a few sessions per week.

The pupil camera setting is applied universally across the all pupil accounts. Any change to these settings can take up to 24 hours to take effect on all accounts. We currently are not able to have instant switch on/off of pupil cameras.

Checking Pupil Engagement:

Staff are developing a range of techniques to check pupil engagement and provide feedback. Like all new systems these take time to develop. Pupils may be asked to feedback via the chat in lessons, verbally in lessons, submit work via the VLE, submit work via Forms or email members of staff. Due to pupils having different types of technology at home a one size fits all method is not possible. We would encourage parents to ask their children about the work they have completed each day.

Pupil anxiety when they have technical difficulties:

As part of the pupil well-being session we will emphasise to pupils the fact they will not be in trouble if due to a fault with technology they are unable to access a lesson or submit a piece of work. We will of course check attendance at lessons and inform parents when pupils are not present but where reasons for this are genuine pupils should not feel they are in anyway in trouble.