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Schools told to increase hours of remote learning

07/01/21

Mark Say Managing Editor

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The Department for Education (DfE) has told England's schools to offer set hours of remote learning and use a digital platform to support pupils having to learn at home during the pandemic lockdown.

Little girl on laptop

This comes as part of a package of measures set out by Education Secretary Gavin Williamson aimed at maintaining education through the school closures.

They include a strengthening of minimum standards for remote learning, with schools expected to offer pupils online lessons and a set number of hours – so far unspecified – of remote education.

Schools inspectorate Ofsted will play a role in holding them to account for the quality of remote education.

The updated guidance with details on the number of hours is expected to be published soon.

In addition, the DfE expects to schools to have a digital platform such as G-Suite or Microsoft Education in place and provide at least some of their remote provision via video lessons, which they could provide themselves or use others such as the Oak National Academy.

Free data agreement

The department has also provided further details on its agreement with mobile network operators for the provision of free data to low income families to support their children in remote learning.

This will vary by provider, with Three providing unlimited data and EE giving people an extra 20GB per month.

The Government has also committed to providing over one million devices to help schools and colleges throughout the pandemic – with over 560,000 of these delivered through 2020.

The DfE said the scale of deliveries has now been increased, with a further 50,000 devices sent to schools across the country on Monday alone, and over 100,000 to come over the course of this week.

Williamson said: “Schools and colleges are much better prepared to deliver online learning, with the delivery of hundreds of thousands of devices at breakneck speed, data support and high quality video lessons available.

“We are working with (exams regulator) Ofqual, headteachers and the education sector to make sure those young people who were due to sit exams can take their next step and progress in education or into the world of work.”

Image from iStock, Maria Symchych-Navrotska

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