Remote education measures are confusing and a burden on schools

Concerns about the Government’s Temporary Continuity Direction, regarding the provision of remote education in schools, under the Coronavirus Act 2020.

By Deborah Lawson, General Secretary, Voice

In our media statement today, we set out our concerns about the Government’s Temporary Continuity Direction, regarding the provision of remote education in schools, under the Coronavirus Act 2020. The Direction means schools have a duty to provide education to children at home, as they do when children are in the classroom. 

With so many different levels of local restrictions across the country, and unclear and contradictory messaging from national and local government, the situation is confusing and open to interpretation.

With growing uncertainty and speculation about next year’s exams, we also need to know how students and schools will be treated fairly when some will be affected more than others by local outbreaks and the need for pupils and staff to self-isolate.

There is also a lack of distinction in the guidance between the differing needs and expectations of different phases of education. Although streamed or video lessons are not specified or compulsory– and most schools do not have the capacity to deliver them – there is a vagueness about the possible interpretation of ‘daily contact’.

Voice has advised its members that there are a number of issues that must be addressed by schools before they agree to engage in remote teaching. These include:

  • how to keep safe online;
  • managing safety during video calls and streaming lessons;
  • protecting personal data and GDPR; and
  • reporting safeguarding concerns. 

Schools must have robust measures in place to ensure the safety of both staff and learners.

Members who have concerns or need advice should contact Voice for support. 

Further information (Voice)

Coronavirus (COVID-19) information page

FAQs

Further information (Department for Education)

New remote education support for schools, colleges and teachers Press release DfE, 1 October 2020

Get help with remote education Detailed guide DfE

Actions for schools during the coronavirus outbreak Guidance DfE

Remote education good practice Guidance DfE

Remote Education Temporary Continuity Direction: explanatory note Guidance DfE

Get laptops and tablets for children who cannot attend school due to coronavirus (COVID-19) Detailed guide DfE

Laptops, tablets and 4G wireless routers provided during coronavirus (COVID-19) Detailed guide DfE

Remote education webinars Detailed guide DfE

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