Home Education

Department for Education written question – answered on 22nd May 2020.

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Photo of Lord Blencathra Lord Blencathra Chair, Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee, Chair, Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports that the National Education Union has instructed teachers not to provide online lessons from home.

Photo of Baroness Berridge Baroness Berridge Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade) (Minister for Women), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

On its website, the National Education Union has highlighted the importance of any school which carries out online lessons having protocols in place to protect staff and safeguard pupils. They also advise teachers against live streaming lessons from home and say that any contact between pupils and teachers should only be through a platform provided by the school and not through personalised accounts open to public viewing.

We know that school leaders, teachers and pupils are all having to adjust to remote education strategies. While this is happening, it is more important than ever that schools continue to follow safeguarding procedures. The department has published guidance on safeguarding and remote education during COVID-19 at:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/safeguarding-and-remote-education-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

This recognises that teaching from home is different from teaching in the classroom and confirms that ‘there is no expectation that teachers should live stream or provide pre-recorded videos. Schools should consider the approaches that best suit the needs of their pupils and staff.’

All schools and colleges should be considering the safety of their children when they are asked to work online. The starting point for online teaching should be that the same principles as set out in the school’s or college’s staff behaviour policy (sometimes known as a code of conduct) should be followed. This policy should amongst other things include acceptable use of technologies. The policy should apply equally to any existing or new online and distance learning arrangements which are introduced.

Further guidance for schools and colleges to support them keeping children safe, including online, during the COVID-19 outbreak is also available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-safeguarding-in-schools-colleges-and-other-providers.

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