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Monitoring Remote Learning Provision

Covid-19 and the subsequent lockdowns have brought about many challenges for schools, which have been forced to dramatically alter their provision with very little time to prepare. The most recent lockdown has again required schools to switch to remote learning for the majority of their student body and senior leaders will now be keen to do what they can to ensure pupils are receiving the best possible quality of education within the remote learning environment.

Whilst the normal processes for monitoring and evaluating the quality of teaching are not currently possible, systematic monitoring can still be carried out online in order to:

  • gauge the effectiveness of remote provision; and
  • to identify any training or development needs within the regime.

The rationale and principles for monitoring the quality of remote provision should align with the school’s overall monitoring policies, but the practices will need some adjustment.

In the following guidance, our educational advisors have laid out:

  • guidance for senior leaders in developing their remote monitoring policy;
  • advice for senior and subject/curriculum leaders in carrying out monitoring practices for remote learning.

It is important that the school operates within its specific context and culture and that the activity is focused on development. It is also vital to remain considerate of staff wellbeing and be informed of context where possible before implementing remote monitoring, particularly for staff working from home where good communication is key.

1. Choose a Focus

Consider the structure and process of the remote learning provision within your school, taking into account any subject specific variation. Monitoring in this temporary environment will be heavily focused on “Implementation”. This may best be done alongside some form of self-evaluation framework such as the DfE “Remote Education Provision Framework”.

Consider which aspects of the provision are most vital to learning and the building of knowledge. In order to make monitoring manageable and effective this should be a relatively short and focused list, e.g. engagement, lesson structure, quality of instruction, resources, feedback and questioning.
(see full list of possible aspects at the bottom of this post).

Develop a view of how the monitoring might practically be achieved in your remote learning environment.

2. Discussions with Subject Leaders

Discuss with each subject leader/coordinator their leadership and management of the remote learning provision for their subject and record the findings. This will enable senior leaders to check provision across the setting, identifying similarities or any major differences.

Our online system Lessons Learned has a form with a set of questions specifically designed to capture this discussion – the Subject Leader Questionnaire: Remote Learning. To book a free online demo and discuss your remote learning monitoring with a member of our team, please click here.

3. Trial an Online Learning Walk

Carry out an “Online Learning Walk,” either within a subject or across subjects to test and confirm:

  • the method of monitoring and recording the elements of practice;
  • the key aspects that should be observed to make monitoring useful and effective.

It is important to remember that it is the method of Implementation that has changed and not the underlying pedagogy, therefore the school’s evaluation structures do not need to change wholesale but rather refocus on the key aspects applicable to the new delivery processes. Therefore, existing Learning Walk form structures should still be applicable, but the information recorded, and its focus, will relate to the new delivery.
Confirm the monitoring process and recording regime for Learning Walks.

Our online system Lessons Learned provides a proforma Learning Walk/Lesson Visit form with aspect descriptors. To book a free online demo and discuss your remote learning monitoring with a member of our team, please click here.

4. Put Your Trialled and Tested Approach into Action

Once a monitoring and evaluation approach is confirmed, more detailed observations of practice can be carried out. These observations will require the observer to experience the same remote offering as the pupils and/or sit alongside the teacher delivering the session to observe practice in action. All the usual protocols of a lesson visit should be observed but tailored to the new delivery environment. As with the learning walk, existing methods of recording can be used (again tailored to focus on the key aspects of the new delivery).

Our online system Lessons Learned provides a proforma Learning Walk/Lesson Visit form with aspect descriptors. To book a free online demo and discuss your remote learning monitoring with a member of our team, please click here.

5. Provide Developmental Feedback

Following any observations, developmental feedback should be given to the staff involved, again in a similar way to the school’s usual quality assurance practices.

6. Continue to Review and Develop

Importantly there needs to be an immediate and continuous process of remote provision evaluation, to identify issues that need to be addressed and developed. In all schools remote learning is in its infancy, resulting in the necessity for sharp evaluation and swift action. This can result in rapid impact and a short school improvement loop is vital at this time, with good communication through senior leaders to subject leads and teaching staff. Any self-evaluation documentation will also need to be kept up to date.

Example Aspects for Observation

  • Does the teacher show good subject knowledge?
  • What is the quality of introduction or exposition, links to previous learning?
  • Is there evidence of differentiated provision?
  • Are expectations made clear?
  • What is the quality of instruction?
  • Is there a clear structure to the session?
  • What is the quality of resources – digital and other?
  • Does the technology work effectively?
  • What processes exist if pupils are experiencing difficulties?
  • Are there opportunities for interaction, questioning, feedback etc?
  • Are there opportunities for extension work and promoting independence?
  • Is there evidence of engagement and progress?
  • Are agreed protocols for the start of a session followed e.g. registration, login etc?
  • Is the session conducted in the agreed “house style?”
  • Is there a reminder of the agreed behaviour protocols?
  • Are pupils reminded about how to submit the results of the learning task?
  • How is the teacher assessing resilience and pupil wellbeing?

All of the remote learning forms provided by For Schools Education Services are a new element of our Lessons Learned Subject Development ToolKit which offers a deep dive approach to quality assurance and school improvement. To find out more about our Subject Development Toolkit and how it can be used to support subject leaders and curriculum development in your school, please click here.

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