Supporting Schools and MATs – Our journey so far

Supporting Schools and MATs – Our journey so far

May 27, 2020 All by James Brown

Currently, Kibworth C of E Primary school are supporting a mixture of individual schools and MATs through the EdTech Demonstrator Programme.  The support varies due to the nature of the schools and their experience or lack of equipment.  For many of the schools, CPD has been a large concern, staff are anxious and lack confidence with the technology and the applications that they are now required to understand and use.  Many of the schools are situated in the East Midlands and we have conducted telephone discussions, face to face meetings as well as meetings via Microsoft Teams. We have tried to be flexible with our approach remembering to adhere to the social distancing guidelines.  The support started in April 2020 and we have been asked to provide initial support for remote learning so far.

Some of the schools have decide to only use Microsoft Teams with their staff members and therefore have required support with how to: –

  • set up and manage channels
  • use the general channel and how it differs to the additional channels
  • structure the posts in the general channel
  • set up new conversations (with headings) and manage them professionally
  • post an attachment but control them in the files area
  • control and set up the files tab with folders effectively

Other schools have no remote learning structure, they are using their websites as a form of remote learning, so they have needed support with set-up queries such as: –

  • Long term 3-5 year planning
  • SLT discussion about how they would like digital tools to be used in their setting.
  • Hardware and equipment
  • Staff confidence and CPD
  • How to use Teams as a whole school
  • How to use Teams in a class setting
  • Class Notebook and giving feedback with digital inking
  • Assignments and grades
  • Why Surface Book 2 is a good investment and how we can teach with them
  • Training

Additionally, we have also been able to give advice on ‘Technical Support’ too which has enabled schools to choose the correct hardware, set-up support with Teams and know how to purchase the right equipment efficiently.

Some recurring tips have been; choose the right learning platform for the school or the MAT, train your staff how to use Office 365 if you choose Microsoft Teams, to set up an effective whole school structure on Teams that is consistent and easy to use, to create a structure for the weekly timetable and each classroom/year group.  SLT’s have a lot of decisions to make before rolling out the learning platform to their staff, children, and parents.

As a supporting Trust and school within the EdTech Demonstrator programme, our key piece of advice to any school/MAT has been to set up an initial ‘SLT or Trust Remote Learning’ meeting and to plan a clear vision for the next 3 to 5 years.  It is important that each school makes informed, calculated decisions too, organise your journey in phases and communicate the vision to everyone so that people ‘buy in’ to the 21 Century Learning Framework. Finally, schools have also appreciated our assistance in directing them to specific weblinks, guidance documents and you-tube clips

For further reading and ideas, please follow: –  https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/blog/2020/03/11/helping-teachers-students-switch-remote-learning/

https://support.office.com/en-gb/article/remote-teaching-and-learning-in-office-365-education-f651ccae-7b65-478b-8366-51bb884025c4

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