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Why so little actual teaching in lockdown (state secondary)?

(136 Posts)
CatOnMyLap Tue 02-Jun-20 18:03:34

My DS (year 8, London state secondary) is getting almost no live teaching during lockdown. Lots of powerpoints, YouTube videos, worksheets set by teachers, but the kids are expected to work unsupervised at home, including tackling complex new topics. Also very little feedback/homework marking. Friends with children at other state secondary schools have the same experience. Yet I am told that private school teachers are doing daily live teaching via Zoom/Google hangouts etc.

I understand that it's unfamiliar, that some teachers may be ill or have small children at home, and that not all kids have sole access to a device. But after 10 weeks it is so clear that the kids need some actual teaching/discussion/group work, and this is doubly true for children whose families can't support with learning. I would love to know why teachers cannot be live say once a week per class per subject for half an hour minimum to explain a new topic or lead a discussion. Are there any teachers who can explain why this is?

OP’s posts: |
LilyMarshall Tue 02-Jun-20 18:05:32

I dont think anyone has asked this question yet op! Nobody else has considered this. Weird.



CatOnMyLap Tue 02-Jun-20 18:09:02

@LilyMarshall not sure if you're being ironic? I did check the threads and couldn't find anyone asking this, but sorry if I've missed a zillion threads on this topic! It just seems so weird - so many other professions have had to adapt to online working and teachers just... haven't!

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BillywilliamV Tue 02-Jun-20 18:09:35

Ask the school, dont ask us! Absolutely 200% convinced tbat everyone is doing what they can tbough!

Phineyj Tue 02-Jun-20 18:09:37

There are about a billion threads on this already (sorry) but essentially the govt said the curriculum was suspended and there is no plan for DC without the technology or internet access, so some schools aren't teaching live as unfair to those who can't access.

Independent schools mostly are, because we need the fees and can assume students have the tech and broadband.

Also year 8 is sadly not a priority in the way that the other year groups are, as no public exams on the horizon/not new to school.

Contact the school (the head of year or the actual head) and ask what their plan is for September.

Mistressiggi Tue 02-Jun-20 18:11:27

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Letseatgrandma Tue 02-Jun-20 18:11:54

so many other professions have had to adapt to online working and teachers just... haven't!

Really confused

W00t Tue 02-Jun-20 18:13:31

Maybe you need to ask his actual school, because my children are having full days of lessons every day confused

Aroundtheworldin80moves Tue 02-Jun-20 18:13:47

Reasons include...
- fears over internet security
- not all children have their own device
-not all families have good enough Internet
- not all children can be online at set times
- Teachers doing Keyworker provision, food parcels, other Welfare stuff
- Teachers have their own families meaning they have to be flexible on their working hours

The PowerPoints, YouTube bids, worksheets etc are them adapting to be online. It isn't perfect, but State schools have a lot more restrictions than Private Schools.

AppleKatie Tue 02-Jun-20 18:14:15

Ha ha ha


This is not my experience

tinytemper66 Tue 02-Jun-20 18:14:19

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FritataPatate Tue 02-Jun-20 18:14:29

Safeguarding issues mean state school teachers are discouraged from using Zoom etc. Don't know how private sector gets round this tbh.

GuyFawkesDay Tue 02-Jun-20 18:15:23

Nope. Just nope. Not again.


isitsundaynightalready Tue 02-Jun-20 18:15:42

My ds is y10 and he’s received zero live learning. He’s been given plenty to do but virtually zero feedback and now he’s being offered one day per week In a small bubble for the last 5 weeks of term. Woefully inadequate I fear with GCSEs next year.

PenOrPencil Tue 02-Jun-20 18:19:54

State secondary teacher here. Live teaching has been flagged by unions and my senior leadership as a safeguarding issue. For various reasons some teachers and students cannot have their houses and/or faces shown online. There are safety and security concerns with zoom etc., classrooms have been “invaded” with porn.

A much bigger hindrance at my school would be access. A lot of our students access all of their school work via their phones. Some don’t have wifi/broadband. Other students have to share devices with parents and/or siblings. Some students have to look after younger siblings or work. It is not realistic for them to attend an online lesson at a specific time on a specific day.

The lowest common denominator is work set online that is not time dependent and easily accessible on phones.

Most teachers have not had any training for remote teaching. Some teachers in my department have rubbish internet connections and struggle to upload lots of data.

We do give some feedback, but some of us are setting work for whole year groups and it is just not feasible to give individual feedback to that many students.

It really is not as simple as teachers just not wanting to offer live online teaching.

CatOnMyLap Tue 02-Jun-20 18:21:15

I'm not saying teachers are not working hard, and sorry if that is how it came across. I'm saying there is no live teaching contact for kids at my DS school and those of people I know. Of course the powerpoints are helpful - the quality is very good. But kids need to have live contact, surely...? Not everyone is equipped to self teach all the time from a powerpoint.

@Phineyj, thanks for your reply. The worksheets are all coming via Show My Homework so I think there is an assumption everyone has some kind of online access or a phone. And I'm concerned that not doing any live teaching because some people might not be able to access it is unfair on the majority who could access it

@Mistressiggi I don't disregard the worksheets. My DS does his best with them. My point is about live teacher contact

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CatOnMyLap Tue 02-Jun-20 18:23:23

@W00t Lucky them! Is that a state secondary?

@everyone - I have asked his school and was given the reasons I mentioned - not everyone has a computer, some teachers are ill or have kids etc

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GuyFawkesDay Tue 02-Jun-20 18:25:18

Well then there is your reason.

I have been able to send my own two to school this week so I can do more live teaching.

Not everyone has that option.

W00t Tue 02-Jun-20 18:26:33

One is state, one is fee-paying.

W00t Tue 02-Jun-20 18:29:19

The school I work in (state academy)!are only doing live lessons with Y12, and now Y10, mainly due to safeguarding concerns, but also because about 30% don't have laptops/computers at home. The DfE grant provided enough machines for Y10 only, so presumably Y7-9 can just do without hmm

Mistressiggi Tue 02-Jun-20 18:29:45

You are backing down OP. You said teachers hadn't adapted to online working unlike other professions. Now you say it's just about live teaching.
I had a GP appointment this week. I was glad to get it. We had a phone conversion. That is the surgery adapting. Should I have demanded a zoom consultation?

justanotherneighinparadise Tue 02-Jun-20 18:31:08

Our school have suddenly decided to start doing Zoom lessons on the last half term of the school year. I find it interesting as they were SO against it citing a million reasons. Now apparently, it’s on!

CatOnMyLap Tue 02-Jun-20 18:32:46

@Aroundtheworldin80moves Yes that's very similar to what we've been told - sounds like maybe you have too.

@PenOrPencil That's a really interesting and helpful reply, thank you. Re safeguarding on Zoom, is there a reason why the teacher as host can't mute all the other participants and switch their cameras off, and deliver a lesson in 'present' mode to get around some of those concerns?

"The lowest common denominator is work set online that is not time dependent and easily accessible on phones." - I understand that, but I think that working to the lowest common denominator means the many kids who could access some lessons some of the time do not have the opportunity.

@PenOrPencil any thoughts on teenager morale please? I'm increasingly concerned about that in terms of the absence of teacher/peer contact in their learning

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Phineyj Tue 02-Jun-20 18:37:25

Have you tried actually doing school work on a cheap mobile with dodgy internet?!

I think probably most schools will end up using Teams by September (it's the software that's part of Office 365) or Google Meet but it takes a while to come up with a strategy especially if you're not required to (and state schools are not currently).

There are a lot of young teachers in the UK with no private space to teach in, as well, plus you need the right IT.

Or are you expecting the teachers to purchase the equipment? We have been reimbursed for webcams etc but the set up relies on us having our own IT essentially.

Plus you need a method of keeping your own kids, should you have any, out of the room!

It's far from straightforward. I know because I'm doing it. With a relatively small number of very well behaved and motivated sixth formers.

NeverTwerkNaked Tue 02-Jun-20 18:37:45

@CatOnMyLap some schools (state and private) are managing it. Lots of parents agree with you. Sorry you have faced aggression for asking s perfectly valid question and one lots of people are asking.

I have switched my son to a private school that is teaching online now and he is so much happier.

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