20 Best Websites to Help Kids Learn From Home in 2021

20 Best Websites to Help Kids Learn From Home in 2021

Julia Olech Last Updated by Julia Olech on March 06, 2021

The internet is a great resource to support home learning, but not all websites meet educational requirements or are child-friendly — some even have inappropriate ads! Teaching your children at home is stressful enough without having to frantically close pop-ups at the same time. Unfortunately, websites that are safe and entertaining often require you to pay expensive subscription fees. The good news is that there are useful free resources available to help your kids learn from home.

That’s why I rounded up a list of the 20 best free websites that provide engaging and fun learning experiences for you and your children. I made sure each website caters to a wide range of ages with games and interactive lessons that won’t bore even the most fidgety kids. The best part is that you can use them all at no cost!

Top 20 Online Resources to Help Kids Learn From Home in 2021

  1. CoolMath4Kids — Practice Algebra With Fun Math Games and Tricky Puzzles
  2. Duolingo — Perfect for Improving Language Skills in Only 5 Minutes a Day
  3. PBS Kids — Encourage Learning With Popular Cartoon Characters
  4. GoNoodle — Fun Dance Routines That Incorporate Learning Through Movement
  5. National Geographic Kids — Investigate World Wonders From the Leading Geography Site
  6. TIME for Kids — Current Events (and More) Explained in Child-Friendly Language
  7. Cosmic Kids — Calm Young Minds With Themed Yoga Classes
  8. Funbrain — Fully Interactive Lessons to Keep Kids Occupied and Interested
  9. Scholastic Kids — Practice Reading and Understanding With Popular Book Characters
  10. Wonderopolis — Find Answers for Curious Minds That Always Ask Questions
  11. Science Bob — Science Made Fun Through Easy-to-Follow Experiments
  12. TED-Ed — Entertaining Videos That Stimulate Learning in Bite-Size Lessons
  13. Fuse School — Entertain Little Scientists With Lessons Created by Teachers
  14. Make Me Genius — Advanced Topics for Those Who Want to Enhance Their Learning
  15. NASA Kids — Explore the Wonders of Space From Your Own Home
  16. Exploratorium — Turn Your House Into a Laboratory With Hands-On Science Experiments
  17. Storynory — A Large Selection of Audio Stories to Improve Your Kids’ Reading
  18. Highlight Kids — Unleash Creativity Through Home Crafts and Games for Kids of All Ages
  19. Help My Kid Learn — Easy-to-Navigate Site With Simple but Effective Learning Tips
  20. ABCYa! — Great Learning Resources for Preschoolers and Teenagers

1. CoolMath4Kids — Practice Algebra With Fun Math Games and Tricky Puzzles

 

Screenshot of CoolMath4Kids main page

 

This self-proclaimed “amusement park of math” offers hundreds of games that teach children basic math skills. Whether your kids love or hate math, they’re bound to enjoy discovering how to add, subtract, multiply, divide, and create fractions with help from aliens and animals. Apart from fun games, CoolMath4Kids offers “Brain Teasers” — puzzles you need to work out through a combination of math and problem-solving skills. I often found myself scratching my head at some of them, so you’ll have as much fun as your children trying to come up with a correct solution!

CoolMaths4Kids is geared mainly towards pupils aged 3-12. For more advanced kids aged 13+, you can access the platform’s sister website called CoolMath that covers different aspects of algebra. The older students will be able to practice their skills not only through games, but also more challenging quizzes and riddles.

2. Duolingo — Perfect for Improving Language Skills in Only 5 Minutes a Day

 

Screenshot of Duolingo home page

 

Learning languages doesn’t have to involve big textbooks and hours of repeated activities. Instead, your kids can use a phone or a tablet and spend as little as 5 minutes a day polishing their language skills. Duolingo is a bright and easy-to-use app and website that encourages children to discover foreign languages through writing, speaking, and listening activities. With hundreds of languages to choose from (including French, Spanish, Mandarin, and more), the green Duolingo owl will reward your kids every time they complete a lesson. This creates a positive reinforcement that motivates young (and older!) users to come back for more every single day.

The platform also encourages a healthy competition between your kids, their friends, and even you! You can all race to see who can get the most points, the longest learning streak, the least number of mistakes, or reach a level milestone first. It’s a fun activity that engages the whole family and keeps your children excited about learning languages.

3. PBS Kids — Encourage Learning With Popular Cartoon Characters

 

Screenshot of PBS Kids main page

 

PBS Kids incorporates the characters from their educational TV shows and uses them in themed learning sections. Choose between Sesame Street Muppets, Curious George, Martha Speaks, and more to teach your children how to spell, count, or understand basic science. Every TV show character comes with a set of simple games, stories, videos, and even sing-along rhymes that encourage active participation and quick learning. As a bonus, PBS Kids also offers various tips for parents on how to incorporate online learning at home and motivate children to stay focused.

4. GoNoodle — Fun Dance Routines That Incorporate Learning Through Movement

 

Screenshot of GoNoodle YouTube channel

 

Home learning makes physical education a lot more challenging as it means children spend an average of 6 hours per day sitting in front of a computer or a phone. That’s why GoNoodle started their Good Energy Movement that encourages children all over the world to tunnel their energy into positive and mindful exercise. With over 14 million regular viewers, GoNoodle creates exercise videos that incorporate movement in dance routines, challenges, and even science lessons. On top of that, the platform regularly publishes themed blog posts with details on how to turn daily activities, like tidying up, cooking, and eating snacks into physical play.

5. National Geographic Kids — Investigate World Wonders From the Leading Geography Site

 

Screenshot of National Geographic Kids website

 

National Geographic makes learning geography fun with an abundance of resources to keep your children engaged and interested in everything the world has to offer. From discovering unusual animal species and how to read a map to learning about world history — you’ll find everything you need to equip your child with appropriate knowledge. Every lesson is accompanied by beautiful photographs and fun videos that kept me fully invested in each topic. Additionally, your kids will be able to play various games to facilitate their learning. I particularly liked the personality quizzes I filled in to discover which shark or dinosaur matches me best and games that let me crack secret messages and solve world mysteries.

6. TIME for Kids — Current Events (and More) Explained in Child-Friendly Language

 

Screenshot of articles on TIME for Kids website

 

Developed by the TIME magazine, TIME for Kids explores politics, culture, the environment, health, and sports through articles written in very simple language. It works in the same way as other online newspapers and magazines, but TIME publishers make sure each topic has age-appropriate photos and videos. This incorporates visuals to help kids assimilate new information easily. Though not as interactive as other platforms on the list, your kids will still benefit from simple explanations of complex subjects like global warming and poverty.

7. Cosmic Kids — Calm Young Minds With Themed Yoga Classes

 

Screenshot of Cosmic Kids yoga videos

 

Kids get a ton of stimulation on a daily basis which sometimes makes it difficult for them to slow down and just breathe. That’s why Cosmic Kids created a platform and a free YouTube channel that offers a variety of yoga and mindfulness classes. This turns sedentary screen time into active movement that encourages children to get up and wiggle. Every class on Cosmic Kids uses kids’ favorite stories (like FrozenHarry Potter, and Cinderella) and features storytelling through yoga poses. It keeps children (and adults) highly entertained and engaged throughout the whole video while also getting a much-needed daily workout.

Aside from providing great workout breaks, Cosmic Kids facilitates the development of emotional intelligence. I found specific “zen den” classes that encouraged me to recognize my feelings or learn different breathing techniques to keep calm. The mindfulness lessons also cover topics like dealing with nightmares or living in the present moment to avoid stress and anxiety.

8. Funbrain — Fully Interactive Lessons to Keep Kids Occupied and Interested

 

Screenshot of Funbrain home page

 

Funbrain is a great educational resource that masks learning through hundreds of games, books, videos, and comics. These are so interesting and engaging that children don’t even realize they’re actually developing new skills in literacy, math, or problem-solving! I could feed a human body and see what happens inside of it during meal times and learn how to prevent an electrical fire. Funbrain has so much more to offer so explore it yourself! Unlike many other similar websites, Funbrain offers all of its resources completely for free — including popular books such as A Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Daisy Nuzzlehead. The platform is designed for kids of all ages and even features special “Playground” classes for the younger viewers who aren’t as advanced as their older siblings.

9. Scholastic Kids — Practice Reading and Comprehension With Popular Book Characters

 

Screenshot of Scholastic Kids game, Home Base

 

Set up by the publishers of educational books, Scholastic Kids encourages children to read and learn with their favorite fictional characters. Your kids will explore the world of fiction through an interactive 3D game, Home Base. There, they’ll follow and interact with each character that will motivate them to read other stories in certain series or teach them about geography, astronomy, spelling, and more. I could even write my own stories and comics which is an amazing feature if your children are interested in expressing themselves through creative activities.

Though such freedom made me question its safety, Scholastic Kids ensures Home Base safeguards children through a strict word filter and constant human moderation. The platform also advocates for positive digital behavior and internet engagement to teach children the foundations of online safety.

10. Wonderopolis — Find Answers for Curious Minds That Always Ask Questions

 

Screenshot of Wonderopolis website

 

Created by the National Center for Families Learning, Wonderopolis fuels natural curiosity and imagination by providing answers to questions frequently asked by children. Every answer is broken down into understandable explanations through videos, images, and text that highlights and defines more difficult terms. At the end of each lesson, you can also find additional resources to explore the topic in more depth. Once you finish “wondering” you can test your child by exploring all “Wonder Words” and taking the “Wonder World Challenge” to make sure your kids really took the information in.

If your children have any burning questions themselves, you can submit a query and wait for experts to answer it. The fresh approach makes learning through the platform more child-led as it allows kids to explore their areas of interest.

11. Science Bob — Science Made Fun Through Easy-to-Follow Experiments

 

Screenshot of Science Bob's website

 

Science Bob became popular after becoming a regular feature on various US talk shows, like Jimmy Kimmel Live or Live Kelly and Ryan. However, the knowledgeable scientist also has his own YouTube channel and online website where he shares tutorials for at-home experiments. Every project comes with appropriate explanations written in a simple language that won’t overwhelm the young scientists. This hands-on approach is perfect for kids of all ages as it shows them how science works in practice. Science Bob also provides ideas and methods to carry out science fair projects which I found is an extremely unique feature that facilitates problem-solving and scientific thinking.

12. TED-Ed — Entertaining Videos That Stimulate Learning in Bite-Size Lessons

 

Screenshot of the list of available lessons on Ted-Ed

 

Aside from hours of lectures for adults, TED features a TED-Ed section that’s perfect for younger viewers. Suitable for children as young as 4, TED-Ed supports home learning through video-based lessons that explain even the most difficult topics like systemic racism and war. Each video features an engaging speaker or an interesting animation while providing in-depth explanations you and your children will surely enjoy. It’s also a fantastic way to introduce your children to a diverse range of perspectives and topics that they wouldn’t always come across at school. There are new lessons added to the library every single day so you’ll never run out of interesting topics either — and you’ll find yourself craving for more!

13. Fuse School — Entertain Little Scientists With Lessons Created by Teachers

 

Screenshot of Fuse School free signup page

 

With hundreds of educational videos, Fuse School teaches children about math, biology, chemistry, and physics. Every video is between 3-5 minutes long and features simple animations that help you understand tricky scientific concepts like GMO foods, organ transplants, and more. Despite touching on seemingly difficult subjects that even many adults don’t always understand, I didn’t find any lesson overwhelming, boring, or tiring.

Fuse School even offers its own social network that’s safe for the young users where children can interact with each other and talk about what interests them the most.

14. Make Me Genius — Advanced Topics for Those Who Want to Enhance Their Learning

 

Screenshot of Make Me Genius home page

 

Some children need resources that provide a bit more of a challenge through advanced topics and materials. Make Me Genius recognized that demand and created a space for those students who struggle to satisfy their hunger for education. Through animated videos, PowerPoint presentations, and more, the platform covers topics from Environmental Science and Nutrition to Great Personalities and even Parenting. Your children will also have a chance to test themselves through multiple quizzes you won’t find on any other website. It’s a true heaven for young geniuses all over the world!

15. NASA Kids — Explore the Wonders of Space From Your Own Home

 

Screenshot of NASA Kids main page

 

NASA Kids makes it easy to learn about space without the need to look through the telescope. With the help of Nebula (a friendly animated astronaut), your children will explore the ins and outs of what it’s like to be an astronaut and work for the world’s largest space organization. The platform also shares various details and reports on their past missions and each one is accompanied by mind-blowing real-life space images and videos. Difficult topics and concepts are also explained through interactive games and puzzles that entertain while educating.

16. Exploratorium — Turn Your House Into a Laboratory With Hands-On Science Experiments

 

Screenshot of the Exploratorium website

 

The Exploratorium is a popular public laboratory that now offers its learning resources through an online platform. Your kids will be able to explore the science behind computing, physical balance, tech gadgets, as well as discover what lies below sea level and how to launch a rocket into space. The website isn’t limited just to scientific topics — the Exploratorium holds lessons about the intricacies of arts and history too! Every lesson is filled with engaging videos and descriptions of actual experiments you can tinker with at home. You’ll even be able to carry out experiments without needing specific equipment as the “Science Snacks” section provides low-cost simple activities for everyone. Additionally, your children can enjoy a Storytime event when they’ll read a child-friendly story followed by simple science activity at the end.

17. Storynory — A Large Selection of Audio Stories to Improve Your Kids’ Reading

 

Screenshot of Storynory audio stories

 

Storynory helps children develop their reading skills by providing a wide range of original and classic stories in a form of audiobooks. Your kids will follow each story as it’s read out loud using not just the audio clues, but also a written text that’s underneath the audio clip. I was also impressed that the voiceover includes a short synopsis of characters from previous chapters so I understood the plot even though I didn’t follow the book from the beginning. Additionally, the narrator takes time to explain difficult “catch phrases” before each chapter to ensure everyone has a full understanding of all terms they might have never seen before. Storynory also lets you translate each text into multiple languages which is super helpful if English isn’t your children’s first language.

18. Highlights Kids — Unleash Creativity Through Home Crafts and Games for Kids of All Ages

 

Screenshot of the home page on Highlights Kids

 

While Highlights isn’t usually thought of as an educational platform, I found that it still teaches children various skills linked with creativity like problem-solving or experimenting. Based on the popular kids’ magazine, Highlights Kids offers articles and lessons on the same topics as its printed version like coloring pages, jokes, baking, and DIY. However, I also used the e-magazine to learn about scientific topics and listen to podcasts which you won’t find in the regular newspaper.

19. Help My Kid Learn — Easy-to-Navigate Site With Simple but Effective Learning Tips

 

Screenshot of Help My Kid Learn website

 

While it may not seem like the most advanced site, Help My Kid Learn helps you target your child’s learning according to their age and abilities. The platform offers a high variety of lessons and suggested activities sorted into 5 categories: Talk, Play, Read, Write, and Count. This layout makes it a lot easier for you to determine if your child meets its stage goals and develops accordingly. Additionally, you’ll be able to access useful tips for each age and how to prepare your kids for what they’ll have to learn next.

20. ABCYa! — Great Learning Resources for Preschoolers and Tweens

 

Screenshot of ABCYa! main page

 

ABCYa! Provides free resources for children from preschool all the way to 13 years old. The website was created by teachers with just one aim in mind — to create educational games that make learning a fun experience. Through gamifying school lessons, ABCYa! grew and expanded its content to teach kids Math, English, Arts, and more. Unlike other websites, ABCYa! also offers multiplayer games that will let your children play online with their friends which facilitates developing social skills while learning.

5 Necessary Steps to Protect Your Children Online

According to the FBI, there are over 625,000 sexual predators trying to befriend children online every day. At the same time, thousands of identity thieves target young kids on the internet to steal their personal information. That’s why you need to follow certain safety precautions before you let your child use the internet — whether that’s for online learning or just entertainment.

  1. Set parental controls on every device your child has access to.
  2. Whitelist specific educational websites you want your kids to use. This will automatically block any other platforms.
  3. Place time limits on how long your children can be online. You should also check if you can decide specific time periods and days their devices can be used, for example, Monday-Friday between 2-5pm.
  4. Never leave your children unattended when they’re online, no matter how old they are. If possible, put all digital devices in common areas (like the living room) so you can monitor your tweens’ activities without interfering in their personal space.
  5. Encourage regular conversations about internet safety and teach your children how they can protect themselves.

While it may feel like you’re placing harsh restrictions, these steps are crucial to ensure no harm can come your kids’ way as they participate in online learning. As long as you remember to include them in setting up the online controls and explain why they’re there in the first place, you’ll reinforce positive habits children won’t rebel against.

Make Sure Your Children Make the Most of Home Learning With These Online Tools

With so many parents being forced to embrace home learning, you need to use the best resources that will help your children reach their maximum potential. Home learning can be stressful but you and your kids can make the most of your learning moments with the right approach and help from online experts. Just remember to take appropriate steps to protect your children and teach them how to stay safe online — you never know who’s lurking in the dark online corners. Set appropriate parental controls and engage them in a conversation about ethical and secure internet behavior and you’ll all see the benefits of online learning in no time!

Preparing for all the return of all pupils

SENT FROM GARETH DRAWMER, HEAD OF ACHIEVEMENT AND LEARNING, AND DAN FLECKNOE, CONSULTANT IN PUBLIC HEALTH

Dear Headteachers and Chairs of Governors,

We have become aware of a small number of schools who have stated that they will be closed for all or part of this Friday, 5th of March, for deep cleaning and to support the preparation of the return to onsite teaching for all pupils from Monday 8th of March.

As a Local Authority, Buckinghamshire Council expects that all schools will be operating a full daily timetable for all pupils, via remote education for the majority of pupils and in-school provision for vulnerable pupils and children of Key Workers, for the whole of this week.

The Public Health team are not aware of any public health reasons that would require a day closure.  We attach again for reference the link to the government guidance issued on 22nd February Schools coronavirus (COVID-19) operational guidance which outlines the system of controls that school should operate to prevent infection, and also states that schools should continue to operate as normally as possible.

We wish all pupils and staff well with the return to full onsite teaching from the 8th March.  Please do get in contact to either the School Improvement Team (sis@buckinghamshire.gov.uk) or Public Health team (publichealth@buckinghamshire.gov.uk) if we can support you with any aspect of your school’s return.

Kind regards,

Gareth Drawmer                                                     Dan Flecknoe

Head of Achievement and Learning                  Consultant in Public Health

8 March Schools Reopening for all pupils

Dear Governor

Here are three bits of information which you might find useful to consider in the current situation and share with your senior leaders prior to  full school opening on 8th March

  1. Vaccination. 

The CIPD ( Chartered Institute of Personnel Development) has published a document for its Members and is advising organisations to have a vaccination policy/statement which sets out the following:

    1. Encourages all employees who can do so to get vaccinated once they are offered it.
    2. Explains that this encouragement forms part of the obligations that each employer has through its health and safety obligations and duty of care for the wellbeing of all individual staff and the community it serves.
    3. Explains there will be no compulsion to get vaccinated but all staff are strongly encouraged to do so unless there are specific medical reasons why this is not advised
    4. The school will release staff in order to attend their vaccination appointments  ( you  may want to add any school specific requirements here- eg go after school if there is a choice, who to notify etc)
    5. A risk assessment for individuals who are Clinically Extremely Vulnerable, Pregnant or Breastfeeding, or choose not to be vaccinated should be undertaken and homeworking and alternative working arrangements considered
    6. And last but not least the Guidance about  Social distancing, handwashing and wearing face coverings  remains in place even after staff have been vaccinated

You could consider a vaccination policy or adding this section to your Risk Assessment, wellbeing policy or Code of Conduct etc as best fits your school

For those who are also CIPD members the full Vaccination HR guidance can be accessed here https://www.cipd.co.uk/knowledge/fundamentals/emp-law/health-safety/preparing-for-covid-19-vaccination

  1. Staff unwilling to return to work- legal position
    1. If staff are claiming that they do not feel safe returning to work then the legal situation this poses and the  options schools should consider is explained here

https://www.stoneking.co.uk/literature/webinar-recording/attendance-work-during-lockdown-getting-balance-right-education\

  1. Upcoming Free Webinar re March opening Stone King Webinar: Full reopening of schools on 8 March 2021 – Key Legal and Practical Points – 02.03.2021, 2pm

Following the release of the Department for Education guidance on the planned return to school of all pupils from 8 March, this one hour webinar will focus on the legal and practical implications for schools, their pupils and employees including:

  • Implementing Covid testing and enhanced control measures for pupils and staff
  • Staffing issues
  • Curriculum provision including the future of remote learning

The webinar will provide an overview of the guidance followed by a live question and answer session. Questions can be submitted in advance during booking or emailed to events@stoneking.co.uk. ​

The full guidance can be viewed here.

Please book your place on this webinar here

I hope the signposting of the information above is useful for you.  Please do email us with your feedback

Best wishes

Anne Sheddick

Vice Chair BASG

Anne.sheddick@gmail.com

Voucher Reminder – Helping Hands vouchers (half term) and FSM vouchers (term time)

Dear Colleagues,

  1. Half term Helping Hand voucher reminder

For all schools – Vouchers provided by Buckinghamshire Council Helping Hand Project, funded by the Winter Grant Scheme for every benefits-related free school meal pupil, to provide £15 support for vulnerable families with food during the half term holiday.

Please remember to download the letters from Any Comms Plus that contain the £15 voucher codes for pupils eligible for free school meals for the half term break.  We really do appreciate your help in getting these letters out to parents and remind you that these need sending before the end term.

If you have any enquiries about the half term voucher provision, please email helpinghands@buckinghamshire.gov.uk

  1. Term Time Free School Meal Vouchers reminder

For those schools who are ordering term-time FSM vouchers from Blackhawk Incentives through Buckinghamshire Council Traded Services.

Vouchers ordered for the week after half term will be delivered electronically  by Friday 12th February, for you to send out to parents when the school returns on Monday 22nd February.

Please contact tradedservices@buckinghamshire.gov.uk with any queries.

Kind regards,

The School Improvement and Helping Hand Teams

 

FW: Funding for Digital Devices – Deadline Extension

Dear Colleagues,

We note that we have not yet had a return from your school detailing the pupils in your school that still do not have sufficient access to a digital device in their home to enable them to participate in remote education.  I attach a copy of the original email which was sent on 9th February.

Please can you provide details on the spreadsheet attached above of which pupils you will be claiming for and confirmation that they meet the four criteria. Once complete, please save your file with the filename 825LLLL_825xxxx_Remote Learning Support.xlsx, where xxxx is your school number, then upload the file to AnyComms Plus selecting “Remote Learning” as the file type. We have extended the deadline until end of school day today, Thursday 11th February, to allow you extra time to submit this information.  We would be grateful if the school could submit a ‘nil’ return if there any no pupils in the school that meet the four eligibility criteria for our records.

 We will then confirm the number of eligible pupils and the maximum amount of funding available for your school and provide more details on how to process your claim tomorrow, Friday 12th  February.  To participate in this scheme, all claims must be made by Friday 26th February.

825LLLL_825xxxx_Remote Learning Support (002)

Kind regards and thank you for your support,

Gareth Drawmer

Head of Achievement and Learning

Update on testing from Public Health

Dear Colleagues,

Please find below three guidance updates on testing in schools:

  1. Confirmatory PCR tests.  Colleagues will be aware that the requirement for a confirmatory PCR test, in the event of a member of staff getting a positive lateral flow device (LFD) result, has been removed for all such tests not being conducted at home.  Primary school staff who get a positive LFD test are therefore still required to get a PCR in order to confirm the result, whereas Secondary school staff are not.  The DfE have just released a helpful FAQ clarifying how Primary schools should treat a positive LFD from a contact tracing point of view: [Primary schools should still] send home those people who have been in close contact with the person who has tested positive, as defined in the actions for schools during the coronavirus outbreak guidance. Those who have come into close contact with staff who have a positive LFD result should isolate straight away rather than waiting for the staff member’s confirmatory positive PCR test. The staff member’s household should also isolate immediately after the positive LFD result, as per the stay-at-home guidance.
  2. Asymptomatic LFD testing for staff who are post-COVID.  Staff who have had COVID-19 within the last 90 days can be assumed to have sufficient acquired immunity to make re-infection extremely unlikely, and are also more likely to get false positive PCR results, during that time period.  On this basis, anyone who is within 90-days of confirmed COVID-19 (with their onset of symptoms or initial positive test counting as day zero, whichever came first) do not need to be included in routine asymptomatic LFD testing.
  3. Twice weekly staff testing.  National guidance now recommends that staff are tested twice weekly.  Obviously, some schools – particularly Secondaries who have to conduct testing within the school day – will vary in their capacity to test this frequently, but if it is possible then twice-weekly is now the recommended option.

We are awaiting a national decision on full school re-opening, as well as on how this will change the above testing guidance.

Kind regards,

 Daniel Flecknoe

Consultant in Public Health

Adults and Health Directorate

Buckinghamshire Council

Remote Education

SENT ON BEHALF OF GARETH DRAWMER, HEAD OF ACHIEVEMENT AND LEARNING

Dear Colleagues,

In these unpredictable times, circumstances and contexts are ever-changing. We hope that the adapted DfE document and support material attached will give a useful platform to review, reflect upon and adapt your remote education offer as and when you need to. In addition, the adapted document invites discussion of lessons learned through  your experiences of remote education that can inform planning for the re-opening of your school.

The package of support material and the adapted template itself are offered to you and your schools in the spirit of support, collaboration and openness. It is not intended that this should be burdensome, judgemental or threatening. A group of Headteachers and senior leaders trialled the original DfE template and have been instrumental in supporting the creation of both the package of support material here as well as the adapted template. Thank you so much to The Grange School, Great Kingshill School, The Disraeli School and Sir William Ramsay School for their time, consideration of and invaluable contributions to this initiative.

The adapted DfE document can be modified to suit the requirements of different leaders/schools at different stages of the remote journey and beyond. Please be aware that there is no statutory compulsion to use either the DfE original or our adapted version. However, we share with you our honest opinion of the inherent usefulness of this material, for your consideration.

Remote Education – Review and Reflect

Kind Regards

Gareth Drawmer

Head of Achievement and Learning

February Half Term Helping Hand Vouchers

SENT FROM GARETH DRAWMER – HEAD OF ACHIEVEMENT AND LEARNING

Dear Colleagues,

Action needed in readiness for February Half Term FSM Vouchers

Buckinghamshire Council continues to provide its Helping Hand service and is preparing to provide all pupils eligible for Free School Meals with a £15 food voucher for February half-term break. As per the Christmas holiday, we will be providing voucher codes to eligible pupils and will again provide these codes on individual letters for you to send to parents/carers.

For us to order and send the correct number of vouchers to you, we need you to confirm the details of the pupils who are eligible for Free School Meals. To do this we will be sending a file to each school today, Monday 25th January, via AnyComms Plus.  We have listed those pupils we believe are eligible for free school meals, based on the October 2020 School Census and the vouchers provided for the Christmas holidays. Please check this list, noting the below –

  • please ensure that the “February half term voucher required” column is set to “No” for any pupils who no longer attend your school
  • please add any newly eligible pupils or eligible pupils who have joined your school this term to the bottom of the list.  Please only add pupils eligible for Free School Meals – do no include pupils eligible for 2 year old funded places or Early Years Pupil Premium (vouchers for these children will be provided separately).
  • for all other pupils please review the “February half term voucher required”  column and amend as necessary.  Where a voucher was issued for the Christmas holidays but hasn’t been activated by the family we have set the voucher required status to “No” by default.  You can request a February half term voucher for these pupils by changing the status to “Yes”, but please check with the family first to find out why the Christmas voucher has not been activated – if they are struggling to redeem the Christmas vouchers then please let us know using the Notes column as we may be able to look at alternative ways of supporting these families.

Once complete please save your file with the original name (825LLLL_825xxxx_HHFebWinterGrantSchemeFeb21.xlsx – where xxxx is your school number), then upload the file to AnyComms Plus selecting “Winter Grant” as the file type. Files need to be returned by midday on Thursday 28th January.

Many thanks for your support with this task,

Gareth Drawmer

Head of Achievement and Learning

Model Risk Assessment for Workforce COVID-19 Testing in Primary (inc. Nursery) Schools

SENT FROM GARETH DRAWMER, HEAD OF ACHIEVEMENT AND LEARNING

Dear Colleagues,

To support you with the introduction of lateral flow testing for all staff in primary (including school-based nurseries and maintained nurseries) we have developed the attached generic risk assessment, should this be useful.  This is based on the information provided through the webinars and associated documents, the government guidance: delivery of rapid asymptomatic coronavirus (Covid-19) testing for staff in primary schools, school-based nurseries and maintained nursery. and a review of risk assessments and learning which has been kindly provided by some of our secondary colleagues.  It is unlikely to cover all scenarios and each school/setting should consider their own unique circumstances and adapt accordingly.

The DfE have just uploaded a set of documents to support your risk assessment to the on their sharing platform.  Please review these documents alongside the attached risk assessment.

We are aware that the government guidance on confirmatory PCR test requirements may be about to change, and if it does we will re-issue this document updated with the latest information.  However, at the time of writing this is in accordance with the current position.

Kind regards,

Gareth Drawmer

Head of Achievement and Learning

Model Risk Assessment for Workforce COVID-19 Testing in Primary (inc. Nursery) Schools v1.0