Teaching and Learning for Primary schools

Our children and young people will be learning remotely for at least the first half of the Spring term, and we felt it may be helpful to share a reminder of the evidence-based practice for excellence in remote learning. The pdf document accessible here offers a shortlist of useful material for school leaders to reference easily if a reminder of best practice is helpful.


An overarching principle which must underpin planning is that children and young people have very different home lives and very different levels of parental support:

 ‘As schools start to think about how they might want to support those pupils at home, they need to be mindful of these very different circumstances, particularly pupil’s access to technology which may have changed as whole families are working from home.

There may be children who aren’t able to complete online work and in these situations schools should set alternative or complementary learning activities that do not require technology.

It is important to remember that when it comes to younger pupils, schools may also want to give parents ideas for interactive activities, games and 'challenges.’ (NAHT Guidance: March 2020).

In order to prevent children potentially falling further behind and experiencing significant educational disadvantage during this period there are key considerations for the curriculum offer in both what is offered and also how it is offered. So, for example:

  • consolidation of knowledge should be prioritised over learning new content: its much more difficult  work independently on things you don’t know about so think about what can be done to support children not to forget the things that they have already learnt
  • identify what is really important to continue – it may be less is more in this situation;
  • when deciding what new learning to introduce think about what is low-stakes – in other words if pupils don’t learn then there is minimal impact.

Case studies

We have gathered four case studies from Surrey schools - please click on the links below to access these. 

We are extremely grateful to the following schools for sharing their individual approaches. We welcome submissions from any other schools who wish to share their own methods to meet the needs of their children and families which we can showcase.

Schools are implementing a range of different approaches to delivering a home learning offer.

These include the use of bought programmes such as Purple Mash and DB Primary, to the use of Google Classrooms and their own websites learning areas. Equally there is a need for the creation of hard learning packs which can be delivered to families and/or collected from schools. Schools need to decide on the approach that best suits their context and cohort needs and in all cases there will be a blend and variety of activities offered.

It would not appear to be a good time for schools to invest in new technologies that require extensive staff training and pupil and parental contact and the establishment of new IT systems.

It is not realistic to expect parents to ‘teach’ or to be able to oversee a formal timetable with the full national curriculum offer. In many cases parents may also be expected to work from home and will not have the capacity to monitor their child/ren’s learning. This will also impact on access to technology.

Equally teachers are delivering home learning as opposed to home schooling and it is important to be clear to parents what they can realistically expect in terms of contact and access to staff time and attention.

It is worth noting whether there is there clear communication with parents which details the school’s approach to home learning and outlines protocols for communication between school and home?

This could be an opportunity to encourage independent learning for children and project- based approaches. Explicit expectations around reading are certainly an investment for the future. It is also not unreasonable for children to learn to be bored!

There may be the potential to explore opportunities for wider community engagement and joint working across Surrey. This could be a good time to celebrate our connectedness and our role and contribution to society.

Further Considerations:

  1. What is the school’s system to maintain contact with vulnerable children and families?
  2. Do schools need to produce a short annex to their safeguarding policies detailing any changes they have put in place during this period?
  3. How is work assessed and monitored and how are teachers communicating with children about their work?
  4. How are governors and the wider community kept ‘in the loop’ and potentially used in the next term?

We are extremely grateful to those schools who have shared their approaches – the generosity has been humbling!



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