January 2021 has brought with it further unprecedented school closures across the UK. After the disruption of the last academic year, the latest closures are likely to pose further challenging times for students, teachers and parents alike. It is clear that the Covid-19 outbreak will have a lasting impact on the UK education sector and the work to help students catch-up will need support on all fronts.
It is interesting to note that in the report released by the Education Endowment Foundation on the ‘Best Evidence on supporting students to learn remotely’ in April 2020, they made five key observations:
- Teaching quality is more important than how lessons are delivered;
- Ensuring access to technology is key, especially for disadvantaged pupils;
- Peer interactions can provide motivation and improve learning outcomes;
- Supporting pupils to work independently can improve learning outcomes;
- Different approaches to remote learning suit different types of content and pupils.
We believe that EdPlace can go some way to support implementing these five observations in a best practice approach to remote learning. We are in a different situation as a nation to one year ago - remote learning is now a much more normal experience for students and there appears to be a wider acceptance of the huge contribution technology can make to support learning.
However, we know that the next months of uncertainty will continue to pose difficult times for all students, parents and teachers; and we are committed to doing what we can to help all those who could benefit from access to our resources.
How has EdPlace responded to date?
- We created and launched a free, limited version of our parent and student accounts so that anyone can access EdPlace resources on some level (to find out more about the difference between our free and paid accounts, please click here);
- We launched our catch-up dynamic assessments, to support parents to help their children get back on track. Our assessment report clearly highlights areas for further focus and helps students to prioritise their learning;
- Our assessments have been used by several educational partners to support their intervention delivery as part of the National Tutoring Programme.
What's new for 2021?
- NEW JANUARY 2021! Our teacher-authors have created a 6-week lockdown learning plan for all year groups and subjects, which includes teacher guidance for parents, video lessons and suggested independent practice activities on EdPlace. These were sent to all EdPlace users via email, but you can also access them by clicking here. We pledge to extend this initial 6-week set of plans if the lockdown and school closures are extended further;
- COMING FEBRUARY 2021! We have created and launched a free, limited version of our teacher account as a result of the exceptionally positive feedback we received from schools in the March 2020 lockdowns and as a result of our free parent account launch. The free teacher account includes the ability to 'gift' unrestricted access to EdPlace for up to 5 students who would most benefit from EdPlace in their homes, such as those with access to Free School Meals or Pupil Premium Grants. (For more information, please click here.)
Our EdPlace Commitment, whatever the future
We know that there is still a way to go until schools can return to normal in the UK. Therefore, we are making a lasting pledge to support UK families who need our help in the following ways:
- Continuing to offer a limited, free parent account forever which any parent can sign up to use;
- Continuing to offer a free teacher account during school hours (9 am to 3 pm) forever which any registered UK teacher can sign up to use;
- Launching further milestone assessments to help identify areas where students need support on an individual basis against age-related expectations. Allowing students to target their learning on EdPlace, with the support of their parents, to continue to 'catch up' (click here for more information on these assessments);
- Continuing to work as a partner with the National Tutoring Programme, supported by the UK government and delivered by organisations approved by the Education Endowment Foundation, to help the most disadvantaged students in the UK to get back on track with their learning (click here for more information on this project).
We will continue to add to and update this page as the situation inevitably progresses and evolves. If you have any questions or concerns about your child's learning and how EdPlace is supporting your family during these challenging times, please contact our friendly Customer Support Team via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.