Home learning at Greenvale School
In general, students attending mainstream schools can participate in online learning if they have a suitable device, access to the internet, an appropriate place to work and learning material which is targeted to their learning level and linked to the curriculum they are following at school. This should build on prior learning and gives a context and some interest in the learning. On the whole children and young people will be able to work independently if these factors are present.
For students attending special schools their ability to access online learning depends on their cognition and other factors related to their special educational needs. For those with autism for example, their anxiety may prevent them from accessing learning even though they may be cognitively able. Those with physical difficulties may require exceptionally specialist equipment. Those with more complex learning difficulties are likely to need adult support to access learning activities in addition to devices which meet their needs (in some cases this may be tablets rather than laptops, for example).
A student who attends a special school will need the following to access online learning:
- Suitable equipment
- A suitable environment for learning which includes a skilled adult to support the learning in many cases
- Appropriate learning activities which can be delivered in the home environment and are of real benefit to the child or young person
- This means that preparing for online learning for special school students might look very different from preparing mainstream students for online learning.
As discussed above the IT equipment required may need to be tailored to student needs. For some, this could be highly specialized equipment, for others very simple. For all students the equipment will need to be appropriate to them. Many students with special educational needs will also need additional props and equipment to enable them to access learning. This may be visual symbols or concrete objects which support their access to learning. Students need to have access to both ICT and physical equipment considered.
A suitable environment which includes a skilled adult
Parents (or other adults involved in the support of this learning) may need advice and support to undertake this task. This support could be delivered by a range of professionals as necessary. Staff could be drawn upon from all areas of the Education, Health and Care Plan. Online learning for students may need preparation from the suitably skilled adult prior to activities taking place with the children.
Appropriate learning activities
It is widely accepted that online learning activities should be mapped to the curriculum. In special schools the curriculum is usually a mechanism for offering a breadth of learning whilst also allowing the Education, Health and Care Plan targets to be addressed. Given that in this situation learning is being supported by an adult who on the whole is not used to this work we are focusing in on 2 Annual targets from their Education, Health and Care Plan. This will be supported by a 2 week themed curriculum. This allows
- Opportunities for academic learning in a range of subjects targeted at the student’s specific pathway
- The adult involved to focus on key meaningful targets (which in many cases they have been involved in setting)
- An opportunity to measure and record progress on achievement of these targets
- The student to engage with a variety of lesson types e.g. live tutor time, pre-recorded videos and work packs
Physios, OTs and SaLTs can complete handovers of programs for students at home.
SaLT guidance can be sent home
Music therapy can be available online
For students not attending school, a joint risk assessment with parents/carers and school will be conducted. Professionals (MDT) will be asked for their input as well.
A blended learning approach will be created, and reviewed every half term. Activities can include:
- Regular welfare calls
- Online zooms/ Teams e.g. small group, 1:1 and linked to class
- Homework packs