As always September is always a busy time at Link ICT because teachers and staff are returning to school after the summer break, which also means demand for business ICT support increases too.
The return this year, following extended closures caused by a UK wide lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus, has meant that we have been even busier because those returning to work or schools have often found themselves needing a refresher on how to use systems and technology. We have also been helping schools respond to the Government mandate to ensure they have implemented the required adaptations to practice remote education in anticipation of further localised lockdowns and social distancing restrictions. If closed again, schools in England will have to provide remote learning and teachers would be mandated to keep learning ongoing at home.
Many schools have turned to Link ICT to help them use various methods to adapt teaching practice for remote education to best meet the needs of pupils. Initially we have completed an audit to understand how well equipped the school is to provide remote learning and how confident both teachers and users are finding current systems. This includes an assessment of how accessible users are find these tools and any obstacles that need to overcome to ensure the solution is inclusive.
These obstacles are often due to connectivity and learner access to technology at home. Not all households have the space to ensure effective learning can take place and it may be that children don’t have appropriate devices or have to share access with siblings.
Mindful of data transfer and possible security risks, we have helped schools to provide internet access via 4G wireless routers which has enabled students secure access to online learning via online portals such as Google Classroom and Microsoft Teams. We have also been able to signpost school Heads and School Business Managers towards the best ways to provide tablets and laptops for children who cannot attend school through Local authorities and academy trusts via The Department for Education (DfE) which is providing a range of support through its Get help with technology programme.
In addition to the above, we have been providing training to all users to ensure they understand how to use technology and therefore get the best learning outcomes. We have been helping schools to adopt approaches and support that can be tailored to individual needs to prevent children falling further behind. This is particularly important for vulnerable children who might have further barriers to learning in their home environment.
If you would like to learn more about how we might be able to help your school respond to this government mandate please get in touch.