Festival News: reflections on the second Ed-tech session 'contingency planning'.

Published: 26 September 2020
Louise McArdle (Learn Sheffield) reflects on the second session by Alistair Gittner, Paul Haigh and John Coats of EdTech Sheffield asking 'How how we plan for further disruption this year?'.

Contingency planning: how we deal with further disruption this year

The above webinar which aired on Thursday 24th September, was led by Alistair Gittner, Paul Haigh and John Coats, it was the second webinar presented by the Ed Tech Sheff team.  Again, it was highly insightful and particularly pertinent for school as they plan consider their contingency strategy in the case of another full or partial lockdown.

The most important thing at the moment is that we have our schools open and the DFE expects that we are planning for remote learning/ blended Learning. 

EEF research on approaches to remote learning as we plan for the year ahead

1.       High quality teaching will remain important – explicit instruction, scaffolding, metacognitive and cognitive strategies;

2.       Targeted academic support - using technology to help with identifying with this and delivering it;

3.       Wider Strategies - checking children’s access to technology, parental engagement, social and emotional learning.


Evidence suggests there is very little difference in terms of impact between live online vs recorded video sessions.  However, be mindful of the importance of building in opportunities for ‘pause and practice’ activities as well as building in regular breaks and opportunities to provide meaningful feedback and guidance.

Lockdown shone a light on the renewed importance of helping students to self-regulate and use metacognitive strategies effectively.

Technology can help the way we use assessment and help to save time

·         Lots of online assessment tools already available – e.g. Accelerated Reader, TT Rock Stars, Showbie, Hegarty Maths etc;

·         Other teachers (who may be isolating) may be able to record lessons at home/do live lessons;

·         More students can access one teacher’s lessons;

·         Technology can help with wellbeing too, Impact Ed have a free wellbeing tool until half term. 


Accessing examples of best practice and how-to-guides for staff training


·         Ed Techshef http://edtechsheff.org/ and edthech utube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcFRjyInsIm7-CUJ-OCO_Kg

·         National Demonstrator Schools Website https://edtechdemonstrator.lgfl.net/

·         Edtech sheff are very keen to share other case studies, particularly schools who are using something else, other than office 365 and non-secondary approaches.


Guide to using learning e-learning platforms

·         Two main systems – Microsoft Office (includes teams etc) and the G suite (google classrooms, google drive, gmail etc)

·         Both systems enable synchronous/live teaching and asynchronous/pre-recorded teaching sessions

·         Access is required via a web browser including smart phones, tablet, chroembook or PC, games consoles. Good internet connection is needed, particularly for videos etc. 


The session concluded with the presenters outlining what support schools can access. This includes:

·         Training to senior leaders on the evidence base around remote learning;

·         Training on metacognition and self-regulation;

·         Advice on remote learning policies/practice and safeguarding considerations;

·         Maths Hub work

·         Groups of schools – workgroups

·         2x1/2 days support

·         All free of charge for up to 30 schools


Further sources of information include:

The EEF provides ideas and further resources for planning https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/covid-19-resources/guide-to-supporting-schools-planning/

DFE guidance


How to Apply to become a edtech demonstrator school


How to access support from edtechsheff



Many thanks to Alistair, Paul and John for such a great session, giving lots of useful advice and signposting us to many other sources of guidance.

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