Top five priorities right now for teachers leading on tech-enabled learning

You’re finally back in school with colleagues and children but for a possibly uncertain amount of time – how do you make the most of this valuable period? In this blog post London CLC’s Peter Lillington sets out five priorities subject leaders need to consider as you prepare for blended learning.

  • Our New to subject leadership in primary computing remote programme starts on 6 October and covers curriculum planning, tools and resources, methods for supporting colleagues and progression and assessment. Find out more
  1. Build on your successes in delivering remote learning 

Have you recognised and celebrated these with colleagues? Are there points you and colleagues want to develop and improve? Now could be the right time to action some of those if possible. Remember though, not all of those points may be of equal importance so plan and prioritise – there may be more things that are urgent, necessary and essential than can actually fit within your working day, never mind about other desirable, interesting or worthwhile categories… Your class, let alone your family or colleagues can’t afford for you to over-extend yourself. We are still in a crisis period.

2. DfE contingency plan – a deadline among many

If you’re not already involved in discussion about your school’s remote learning plan (see last week’s blog post), which is expected to be in place by end of September, it will be important to liaise with your senior leadership team about how digital technologies will support learning and communication whatever situation your school faces.

The situation may continue to evolve over the coming period, so we’d paraphrase and add: ‘expected to be in place at least in draft format’ – though that’s not what the DfE say.

3. Practice while you can – valuable time with the children now

Use in-school time with technology, whether in the classroom, hall or ICT suite if you have one, to make sure children and teachers understand systems, tools and routines. You might incorporate or model some of the remote tools into regular or specific use in class even if only on the teacher’s screen or whiteboard to confirm successful strategies and tease out difficulties.

As more detail about actual experience comes to light you may well get further insight about necessary accommodations to the curriculum, whether for a subject such as computing as part of a broad and balanced offering, or more generally if you have instances of disadvantage. 

It’s quite likely that for some children, opportunities and experiences will have been beneficial for developing computing knowledge and skills, and they’ll have had a chance to do all sorts of creative and interesting things – but at the other end of the spectrum some children may have had little or no access to devices and platforms, or had unfruitful or even upsetting experiences. 

If you get the chance, check in with colleagues about their perceptions of needs and what their classes were able to undertake.

4. Health and safety, safeguarding – up to date?

Meet with your safeguarding lead to be sure that you have already addressed, or have actions in place to address KCSIE 2020 mentions of ‘online’ – go through Annex C with a fine tooth comb and think about all the implications in different scenarios – in school, out of school – both for children and families, but also for staff in the current circumstances. 

You may also need to remind the community about key online safety messages. It may be an idea to put in place some online safety discussions in class alongside any existing planned units or sequences of lessons.

Ofsted and DfE will expect this element to be up front and explicit in the plan referred to in point 2. 

Also make sure that all staff are prepared for handling disclosures that might emerge, possibly further down the line if not immediately, about children’s experiences during lockdown. 

Every school has measures in place to be Covid secure but there may be some details not yet organised with regard to specific equipment. 

5. Develop staff and community skills and knowledge

Find out from your staff, and community too, if possible, what development needs they may have around using platforms and tools, building on what they’ve discovered, experimented with or mastered. Find a way to continue to share new ideas and skills, even short hints and tips, especially if you have new members of staff or those returning after a period of absence.

  • We’re providing practical as well as strategic help for all these issues through our new Blended approach. Over the coming weeks you will see our CPD, events and free resources reflect this ‘new normal’.

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Upcoming CPD

Summer primary school computing conference
Summer primary school computing conference

This event will build upon the Autumn computing conference by inviting subject leaders to reflect on their year in the role, sharing their successes and challenges. It will also introduce new ideas, tools and approaches through talks and practical activities led by members of the CLC team, with opportunities for attendees to share their own expertise and experience. Over the course of the conference activities will touch on the three main areas of the computing curriculum: computer science, digital literacy and information technology. We will also feature advice and examples illustrating the use of technology to support blended learning.

- 15:30
Computing subject leaders, Teachers...
Creative Arts, Digital and children – CLC meets More Than Robots online
Creative Arts, Digital and children - CLC meets More Than Robots online

Combining forces for the first time, the Connected Learning Centre and More Than Robots have created a session for teachers, youth organisations, researchers and policymakers interested in the digital provision of creative arts for primary aged pupils.


The Play Observatory - Prof. John Potter

“In their own words”: Westminster Abbey & CLC digital projects - Sian Shaw

Building (and maintaining) a city-wide primary arts curriculum to raise attainment - Kate Fellows

More to be added soon

This interactive and inclusive meet up will include inspiring examples of how technology can be used to support learning in music, visual art and drama in person and online at home drawing on our experiences as Tate Exchange associates and our partnership work with a range of cultural institutions.

This informal event is an opportunity to discuss real examples of what does/doesn’t work, meet colleagues from other sectors working on similar challenges and share useful research, news or updates

The morning will include case study presentations (details below) followed by a Q&A. There will also be an opportunity for a rapid sharing round for launches, project updates or requests for help and a short break to avoid zoom brain drain.

- 11:30
KS1, KS2
Subject leaders, Teachers...

Upcoming Special projects

The News Project
- 14:25

Special project in collaboration with First News Education

For a third year, building on two successful previous projects, we are once again partnering with the children’s newspaper First News, fellow member of the national Making Sense of Media and News Literacy networks. This special project with a literacy, PSHE and citizenship, as well as computing focus, highlights our specialist interest in this important aspect of digital and critical literacy.

The News Project will enable participating classes from year 5 to immerse themselves in news and current affairs using First News and the Bett award-winning First News iHUB, which will be provided free of charge during the school-based part of the project over a six week period. Under the guidance of their teacher, pupils will be supported in their development as a community of fully informed news readers. Classes will test their new critical skills and knowledge in the culminating virtual celebration event which will include a news competition and team-based critical literacy and editorial activities. After the event, schools will be able to use the resources from the day in their school.

The project will launch with an introductory CPD session for teachers to set the context, demonstrate resources and to plan for the school-based activities. 

Initial CPD session - Thursday 21st October 4pm-5.00pm. 

Project work undertaken in school - October and November.

Special event - Thursday 25th November 9.30am-2.45pm.

The Garden Museum

The CLC is once again partnering with the Garden Museum to offer a partnership project for KS1 pupils (primarily suited to Yr2). Located next to Lambeth Palace on the bank of the Thames, the museum has an inspiring collection that provides the ideal stimulus for young learners to explore the world around them.

Pupils will use technology alongside the museum’s collection to explore the wonderful world of seeds.

  • How are they planted?
  • How do they spread?
  • What is inside them?

 The Garden Museum has a large collection of seeds and tools that pupils will engage with.

These half-day sessions will take place at the Garden Museum.

There is a limited number of dates available, so please book early to avoid disappointment.

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