Remote Learning





February 2021 Update


Now that schools will not start to move towards full re-opening until at least 8 March, the majority of children and young people will continue to learn remotely at home. In addition, until mass vaccination is achieved, local lockdowns, ‘teaching bubbles’ and individual self-isolation are likely to remain part of daily life. Therefore, schools will have to continue to rely on remote solutions to deliver their curriculum in some form.  
We know that schools are settling into the routine of remote learning and Surrey’s school leaders, teachers and support staff have worked tirelessly to ensure that our children and young people continue to get the very best possible learning experience during this time. We applaud you and thank you for your relentless efforts to provide continuous learning in the most challenging of times.  

As the term has progressed, we really appreciate the challenges that staff have in ensuring on-site provision and providing remote learning. The recent report from Ofsted on ‘Remote Education Research’ found that overall, the switch to remote learning had increased teacher workload. Each of the different phases and sectors have specific challenges that reflect their context.    


Therefore, in response SAfE recommends the following key principles and advice

  • The phrase ‘remote learning’ refers to the fact that learners and teachers are at home rather than at school. ‘Digital remote learning’ forms part of this. 

  • You will have a professional view on how much learning will involve digital activity based on your school context and the age and phase of the learners. Different approaches to remote learning suit different types of content, pupils and schools.

  • ‘Live lessons aren’t always best’ (Ofsted guidance 11th January 2021) Ofsted considers that there is no one-size-fits-all approach and school leaders must make considered choices about how best to deliver remote education. A ‘digital approach’ does not necessarily mean live ‘synchronous’ education. The DfE consider ‘Where remote education is taking place, it should include recorded or live, direct teaching time from the school or other educational providers (such Oak National Academy), and time given for pupils to complete tasks and assignments independently.’

  • Remote learning is fundamentally the same as other forms of teaching/learning – keep it simple. 

  • Most schools will most likely use a blend of approaches that includes:

    • Live lessons/part lessons where teacher and learners work together in real time. This may include the teacher being ‘live’ to motivate, explain concepts, ask questions and offer feedback, or for whole live lessons;

    • Pre-recorded material that includes accurate teacher explanation and modelling. This can be particularly helpful for learners and parents to use at home as they can revisit material as often as is helpful;

    • Work set and submitted electronically, with access to electronic resources as appropriate;

    • Paper based activity that includes written explanation, questions and activities for learners to engage with.

  • The Oak National Academy have a useful range of webinars, guides and case-studies to support schools using their resources. These can be accessed here. SAfE endorse the use of these resources to enable you to support this model of delivery.

  • The Education Endowment Foundation considers ‘Teaching quality is more important than how lessons are delivered’.

  • Having a strategy and plan for communicating your strategy and rationale to your parents is important. The EEF have produced this useful guides for schools: Communicating Effectively with Families: Guide for Schools

  • We strongly suggest that schools use the Department for Education’s 'Review your Remote Learning Provision' framework. Using this as a senior leadership team, with governors and potentially with peer review from a colleague head will support schools to identify the strengths and areas for improvement in their remote education provision and give confidence in the quality of provision.

  • Ensuring a balanced and sensible workload for teachers is crucial – in many cases 5 - 6 hours of live lessons is not sustainable on a long-term basis particularly where they are also working in school with children.


We will continue to support you and your staff through our professional learning programmes, including our networks where colleagues come together to share practice – see our Professional Learning Offer



Voices From Schools - Thoughts on Remote Learning


We are working with several schools to provide additional support and share good practice through case studies. See below our "Voices From Schools" VLOGS, kindly shared by schools in Surrey. Please re-visit this page when you can, we will continue to add new "Voices from Schools" as we receive them. We will build up a resource library for all phases, focusing on common challenges that we all face. If you would like to contribute to the Voices from Schools series, please email Alex Williamss to receive further information about how you can participate.

Link to Video
Primary Continuing Targeted Academic Support via Remote Learning – Phonics Focus Megan Griffiths, Teaching and Learning Lead, Alexandra Primary School  Click Here!
Primary Blended Learning Approaches in Small Schools Louise Johnson, Director of Education, Good Shepherd Trust  Click Here!
Primary QFT Starts with Teacher Instruction Sophie Murdoch, Teaching and Learning Lead, St. Polycarp’s Catholic Primary School  Click Here!
Primary Reaching All Pupils – Home Delivery Krista Greenway, Teaching and Learning Lead, St. Mary’s C of E Primary School   Click Here!
Secondary Top Tips for Effective Remote Learning (Secondary Phase) Amy Jackson, Lead Practitioner, Salesian School and Michele Miller, SAfE  Click Here!
Primary Online Resources to Support the Whole Curriculum Debbie Stanley, St Bartholomew’s C of E Primary School  Click Here!
Special Our Reconnection Curriculum Emily Mainwaring, Deputy Headteacher, Gosden House School  Click Here!
Primary Differentiating Tasks to Provide Support and Challenge During Remote Learning Emma Elliott, Sythwood Primary and Nursery School  Click Here!
Primary Engagement with Remote Learning, Elizabeth Carter, New Haw Click Here!
EYFS Remote Learning in EYFS, Jade Moore, Ewell Grove Click Here!
Special Remote Learning Support for Children with SEND, The Oak Academy Click Here!
Primary Assessing Pupils and Providing Feedback, Louise Druce and Vicky Swann, Stamford Green Primary and Nursery School Click Here!

January 2021 update


In light of the January announcement for lockdown and the move to school's delivering remote learning for those who are not attending school, SAfE has developed further cross-phase guidance for remote learning. 

The Whiteknights English Hub has developed resources which you may find helpful in supporting Primary Phase English remote teaching and learning.

The DfE released a guide entitled 'What is working well in remote education' detailing findings from the first two lockdowns and tips to support education in the third lockdown on January 11 2021. Please find this guide here.      


From 22nd October 2020 the DfE placed a statutory responsibility on all state-funded schools to provide immediate access to remote education to pupils should they miss school due to coronavirus. A contingency plan for providing remote education should be in place. 


The contingency would be actioned immediately for the following:


  • Individuals or groups of pupils need to self-isolate, but the rest of the school is still open OR

  • There is a local outbreak and you are asked to close temporarily for most pupils like during the initial school closures in March


SAfE have created a template to support schools with their Remote Learning Offer:



You might also find the following Webinars useful.

Contingency Planning: Evidence of Informed Planning for Remote Learning (15/09/2020)


Evidence of informed planning for remote learning- Autumn 2020 from Schools Alliance for Excellence on Vimeo.


Chris Runeckles from the Education Endowment Foundation presents an exploration of the evidence to support school leaders as they prepare contingency plans for remote learning.


Contingency Planning for 'Remote Learning' in Surrey (17/09/2020)


Contingency planning for remote learning webinar September 2020 from Schools Alliance for Excellence on Vimeo.


Please find below the following supporting documents for this webinar - click on the title to download:

Further Resources


You may find the following guidance and resources useful:


Our webinar A beginners Guide to Google Classrooms explores how this remote access platform can be used both to support remote learning but also help reduce workload.


Beginners Guide to Google Classrooms (14/10/2020)


Beginners guide to Google Classrooms 14th October 2020 from Schools Alliance for Excellence on Vimeo.


You can download the slides from this webinar by clicking on the link below.




Whilst supporting remote learning, making sure children and young people are safe online is more important than ever. The following links may be useful when considering Safeguarding for remote learning.



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