Adjusting to new approaches for teaching and learning

in Surrey schools

home learning * school learning * blended learning   

SAfE recognise and applaud the excellent job that Surrey Schools have done in responding to the Covid-19 crisis.  Creating the infrastructure and resources for students across Surrey to continue their studies remotely has happened at high speed and quality. Thank you to all of you to all you have done and continue to do for our children and young people.

This section of the SAfE website aims to support teachers and leaders as they work with pupils both in school and with their home learning: as schools reopen in phases during the summer and into the autumn term. 

This section offers phase specific support around curriculum design and delivery as we reopen schools and plan for the next academic year. With bespoke areas for EYFS, Special, Primary and Secondary schools, within each phase you will be able to navigate to the ‘approaches’ tab.  This focuses on how we approach the challenge of supporting children in their home learning, school learning and through blended learning. You will also find the ‘Curriculum Resources’ tab.  This is where you will find learning resource models, suggestions and best practice, grouped by subject.     

This section also offers information to support Transitioning from Year groups. This page is under development and will detail a growing resource of advice and guidance for transitioning between specific year groups;

into EYFS,

EYFS to Yr R,

Yr 2 to 3,

Yr 6 to 7,

Yr 11 and 13+ 

The Vulnerable Learners section provides approaches and guidance for all school staff, to address the learning gap that has arisen as a consequence of the pandemic and schools closures. This page is under development. 

The Wellbeing section provides information and best practice guidance to support the mental health and wellbeing of Pupils and Staff.   

Please use the graphic links below to jump to your specific area of interest.  




Adjustment to working differently

As we all begin the process of adjustment to working differently, our challenge will move from immediate response to establishing and maintaining high-quality ways of working over time.  Whilst there is some evidence about effective remote working in schools, it is not an area that most teachers and leaders feel confident about. 

In short, we don’t know ‘what good looks like’, but we are all working hard to find out!  Tom Sherrington’s ‘Setting work for a long-haul shut-down’ is a useful set of principles to consider.

There are thousands of online resources available offering content that teachers can access at this time.  Whilst this can be helpful, it can be difficult to sift through to find the highest quality material. 

Perhaps the real issue is less about ‘what’ we teach (content) over the coming weeks, and more about ‘how’ we teach it remotely.  Teachers are familiar with ‘what’ they teach, but the ‘how’ is a new and largely unchartered arena.

On this page, you will find information and guidance from The Surrey Virtual School, and 15 strategies from Mark Rowland on ‘Distance learning through the lens of disadvantaged pupils.

Our colleagues at Surrey Arts have also been developing their services to support you all during these challenging times: "As society changes in the current climate we are passionate about young people continuing their education in music and the arts. We are currently piloting an online learning programme, Surrey Arts Online Learning, to a small number of Surrey Arts students and when the pilot is completed will review how this programme can reach pupils and schools across the county. The Surrey Music Hub has put together a range of learning activities, videos, apps and online groups for young people as well as CPD opportunities for tutors and teachers and our Visual Arts team have worked with Surrey Artists Open Studios and Surrey Hills Arts to offer a range of online workshops and online artist studio tours." 

On line resources

BBC Bitesize content has been expanded, to provide regular daily lessons in English, Maths and other core subjects. It includes:

Bitesize Daily - six different 20-minute shows, each targeted at specific age groups from five to 14, covering Maths, Science and English, as well as subjects including History and Geography; 

  • more than 150 new lessons added every week to the Bitesize website and app;
  • advice for parents on home-schooling, and guides for pupils with special educational needs;

For older students, BBC Four is showing evening programmes to support the GCSE and A-level curriculum.

  The DfE have issued guidance to parents: outlining 12 weeks of online summer term lessons using Phonics - staring Monday 27th April

The government has also announced that it is backing a new national online school, called Oak National Academy, to provide 180 hours of free lessons a week. It will offer content based on the curriculum, from Reception to Year 10, for teachers to use when planning remote learning. These resources are designed and developed by teachers to offer support during this period. Teachers are free to choose how to use it – either to follow the full curriculum on offer or signpost students to some of the resources and lessons available. All resources, lessons and more information can be accessed here:  

As we continue into an extended lockdown period the EEF are building a bank of analysis around remote learning which may be of interest - take a look at their website for further information. 


Sharing our expertise and ensuring you get to the "best bits" quickly.

This page seeks to begin the process of sharing some of the thinking that is out there so that we can start to explore together the ‘best bits’ of how remote working can be effective.  Central to our thinking must be the impact of learning remotely on our pupil premium and other vulnerable learners. 

You Tube’s Free School offers a range of videos on topics as diverse as the US constitution, coral reefs and the solar system.

Ted Ed has a wide variety of "lessons worth sharing" from teachers around the globe.

The DfE have also produced a wide array of resources to support schools and parents during this period. These are listed below:


Mark Rowland’s article ‘Distance learning through the lens of disadvantaged pupils’ provides an excellent insight into the key issues for disadvantaged (and all) learners, and offers strategies for consideration.  The Chartered college article ‘online, distance and home learning: selected reading’ includes various commentaries on the challenges that we face.

Mark Rowland offers 15 strategies that are particularly useful to consider.  When you visit the relevant part of our website for the phase you are interested in, you will see case study examples of what some of our schools are doing at this time.   Offering ‘case study’ examples is a way of sharing what is happening, rather than definitive ‘best practice’.  Until the research is conducted and evidence gathered, we simply do not know what excellence is.

Please note that all downloadable documents on this site are provided in PDF format. If you do not have the appropriatre reader installed you can obtain the free Adobe reader from their website here - Get Adobe Reader

Mark Rowland’s 15 strategies from ‘Distance learning through the lens of disadvantaged learners’:


Adjusting to new ways of working

1. Developing routines and securing wellbeing and pastoral care may be the greatest priorities initially. It is important not to rush to try to do too much. 

2. In line with the EEF’s implementation guidance, the most sustainable, effective approaches will be developed over time.

3. Encourage self-regulated learning, build and sustain motivation, don’t overload with tasks from multiple online platforms

4. An obvious, but important point: So many families may not have gardens /quiet spaces /desks /good wi-fi. How does distance learning work for these pupils? 

5. Use evidence about parental involvement. More than ever, we need to work together and maintain strong relationships, especially with those families that have found engagement with school life more difficult. 

6. Many parents may find it more difficult to support learning because of financial or health anxieties. Short term problems supersede long term ambitions. Keep distance learning achievable and ‘low-stress’.

7. Regular, frequent check-ins with disadvantaged pupils will be more important than ever. Our disadvantaged pupils need to feel they belong, and that school is theirs. Belonging is vital; maintaining a strong connection with school. 


8. Use rigorous assessment to ensure that any distance learning addresses historical gaps. When schools reopen, high-quality diagnostic assessment will become more important than ever.

It is reasonable to expect that some pupils will have learnt more than others during school closures, for lots of complex reasons. Communication and record-keeping are even more important with pupils out of school.

9. Consolidation of knowledge should be prioritised over learning new content. It’s not possible to work independently on things you don’t know about. Because of external pressures, families may not be able to support the learning of new content. 

10. Scaffolding, modelling and worked examples become more important than ever.

11. It is important that pupils focus on achieving their personal best in work, rather than comparing themselves to others, especially if communicating online. Strategies such as cumulative quizzing can be really effective. 

12. Encourage pupils (of all ages) to read aloud regularly and frequently. Provide access to reading material and free audio books where possible. Reading is an opportunity for broadening horizons and cheating confinement. But provide structure and guidance, themes and sequencing where possible. 

13. Conversations and discussions are more important than word exposure for language development. Interactions with words are critical: 


14. Light touch communication approaches with families, e.g. text messaging, may be a helpful way of keeping in touch. Encouraging daily routines, with dedicated time without distraction to converse with an adult and regulated screen time may be helpful.

15. Use evidence about parental involvement. More than ever, we need to work together and maintain strong relationships, especially with those families that have found engagement with school life more difficult.

Introducing The SCC Surrey Virtual School

The SCC Surrey Virtual School brings together the information about and supports children and young people who are cared for by Surrey local authority as if they were in a single school.  They have generously shared a document on ‘how to manage worry and anxiety during Covid-19’ and another for families on ‘supporting your child’s home learning’ .

They have also written ‘top tips for making home education work’ in response to requests for families caring for looked after children

The article contains advice that is useful to all families caring for children at different phases of education.




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