The National Education Union (NEU) has spoken to members and requested examples of good policy practices for blended learning and has received many responses from secondary schools. The NEU recognises that schools vary significantly and what may work well in one school may not go down so well in another. However, the policy practices below may work well across a wide variety of secondary schools.

Whilst each school and college will deliver lessons differently, below is an example of agreed learning policies the NEU has successfully negotiated with the Education Alliance to be used across their schools.

We ask staff to: 

  • Keep their own camera turned off. 
  • Maintain normal expectations for students/pupils, as they would in school lessons. 

Ensure that:

  • students/pupils are aware of these expectations when delivering live video lessons. 
  • appropriate privacy settings are in place and GDPR compliance is maintained. 
  • Only relevant pupils/students can access the lesson. 
  • Pupils/students are not sharing personal information via the chat function. 
  • Students/pupils have their microphone and camera turned off
  • Students/pupils use the “hands up” and “chat” function in a live lesson to ask questions. 
  • Challenge any inappropriate behaviour from pupils/students and report it as they would in school.  In the case of serious or persistent disruption, remove student from the online learning activity to ensure the learning of other pupils/students can progress. 
  • Report any safeguarding concern to the relevant safeguarding leads using the usual channels. 

We ask pupils/students to: 

  • Log on for the lesson in good time and be ready to learn
  • Behave as if they were in school and in the classroom
  • Only use school email to communicate with staff. 
  • Only access their school accounts, not personal accounts. They must not share or access any unsuitable material.  
  • Ensure conversations using the chat function are appropriate and related to the lesson. 
  • Understand that any misbehaviour will be dealt with through the usual sanctions system

We ask parents to:

  • Recognise that this is new to all of us and at times things may not go perfectly
  • As best as they can, help their child to work in a suitable quiet place
  • Contact the school immediately if their child does not have access to the technology needed to join the online lesson – we can help.
  • Not “attend” their child’s lesson. Where possible, we ask parents to be in another room, but where this is not possible, not to participate or contribute in any way. If the teacher is aware of parent/carer or other unintended audience members attending the lesson, teachers are asked to end the live element of the session and move students/pupils onto “on demand” work. The teacher will then report their concerns to a senior leader who will contact the parent/carer
  • Communicate with the school only through normal established channels.”

The full comprehensive remote learning guide from The Education Alliance, outlining the policies for staff, pupils, and parents can be found here. 

Below is an example provided by a member of the NEU, underlining the principles their secondary school has adopted. 

  • No live lessons should be scheduled outside of the normal in-school timetable unless specific permission has been granted. This will ensure that there are no clashes and that there is a clear record of what is happening and when.
  • Normal levels of professionalism should be maintained throughout any live lesson. The staff code of conduct applies to all.
  • Live interaction should only take place using Google Meet, and through meets scheduled via google classroom or a platform provided by the school.

Preparing for live lessons

  • Staff should only deliver live lessons if they have received necessary training. Staff unable to attend this INSET day will need to arrange a meeting with a member of the senior leadership team to ensure key messages are delivered.
  • Any safeguarding concerns which may arise during a live interaction must be communicated to the DSL using the standard procedure rapidly.

Before a live lesson starts

  • We anticipate that in most circumstances, live lessons will take place from the school. Staff should deliver from classrooms and not staff only spaces such as the staff room and break out rooms.
  • Only ever use a school device for live meets.
  • Test the IT setup 10 minutes before the start of the lesson (microphone, internet connection etc). If you are using a laptop, ensure it is plugged in/that the cable is within reach in case of low battery.
  • Ensure that you have any resources you require for the lesson within easy reach, to ensure that you do not need to leave the computer for any reason during the live meet.
  • In situations where hosting the live interaction from a school classroom is not possible, check your location carefully for anything in view which could be deemed personal, inappropriate, or revealing of personal data of you or others. When doing this bear in mind that you might move the camera during a meet, so the immediate surroundings should be checked too.
  • Ideally, position the camera against a plain, neutral background. You may also wish to use the blur background tool in google meet.
  • Take steps to reduce the risk of being disturbed during the recording. Ensure mobile phones are on silent mode and place a note on the door stating that you are in a live interaction.
  • If you are likely to have to conduct a live meet from outside the school and you are concerned about background noise, contact your line manager regarding a loan of a headset.
  • Meet links should be generated from within google classroom. A new link should be made ahead of each lesson using the “reset” button in the settings section. Teachers should join the meet first and begin recording before sharing the link with students via google classrooms.

During the live lesson

  • Ensure the meet is being recorded. Recorded lessons should be kept in google drive for safeguarding reasons.
  • Student microphones should be muted - students can ask questions using the chat function.
  • Speak slowly and clearly.
  • End with clear instructions on what students should do next.
  • Teachers should ensure that all students leave the meet before they end the meet/leave.

After the lesson

  • Ensure the meet has ended before you do anything else. Remain in the meet until all students have left (you can remove students yourself if necessary). Then ensure you have left the meet yourself and closed all windows.
  • Ensure that students have access to any necessary follow up resources via google classroom. Check google classroom regularly throughout the rest of the lesson time for any question’s students may have.

There are many online sites offering material to support blended learning.