What we did:
We prioritised the use of Seesaw for all staff, pupils and families to provide one safe space for all communication, teaching and learning and family learning opportunities. Prior to school closures, we ensured we had notified all parents of this and offered drop in technology support sessions to ensure families could engage, which were well attended. We supported families with iPad’s and Internet funded through PEF. We monitored engagement weekly and contacted those families who were not using the platform and supported them individually.
On a sample week in February, we had 21 visits to the Seesaw site and 163 connected families in total. By the end of March on a sample week this had increased to 939 visits to the site and 189 connected families. Before school closure, sample dates highlighted an average of 8 parent comments in a week. From March onwards we had over/around 2,000 comments from parents weekly. The total number of uploads/items throughout lockdown was 19,386. This was instrumental in enabling the school to improve parental engagement, promote family learning opportunities and offer a safe environment for parents to contact the school regarding the sharing of sensitive family matters.
Who we involved:
Senior Leadership Team, all class teachers and HWB support workers were included within the class Seesaw groups. We were able to notify all families and signpost them to ongoing food, energy and financial supports regularly. Our Nurture pupil group were also able to access support from our Creative Arts specialist to continue art therapy and arrange meetings for face to face HWB support. Families posted lots of pictures and video clips of family and individual learning they undertook at home.
The difference it made:
Primarily, this had a massive impact on our Parental Communication and Engagement. It allowed open, honest and transparent 2-way communication between teachers and pupils, teachers and parents, pupils to pupils and the Senior Leadership Team with all pupils and parents.
Teachers were able to continue differentiated teaching and learning for all pupils and also support parental knowledge and understanding of how best to support their child’s learning. This was through individualised ‘how to’ support videos and conversations. Relationships strengthened throughout and we were able to have an ‘eyes on’ approach to continue our strong nurturing and supportive ethos for families. We were also able to continue to raise awareness of the school improvement priorities through whole school focus on our Global Goals campaigns, our Sustainability work and visible learner characteristics.
What we will do differently in the future:
We have gathered feedback from parents which has been highly positive and indicates this is the preferred method of communication and engagement for our school. We have used this to deliver a bespoke transition package for our current P1s and all other classes moving to a new teacher/room to minimise anxieties and meet pupil need.
To ensure we continue our high level of personalised support, we have additional classes for targeted interventions, e.g. Nurture group and Reading Recovery group to support a sense of belonging, share ongoing improvement work with parents and develop parental knowledge and understanding of how to best support their child’s learning at home.
We plan to continue to build upon the success of the use of Seesaw through building staff knowledge and capacity and taking on board parent and pupil feedback. Our pupils are now actively asking if they can share work from school on Seesaw to their parents. We aim to have 100% of parents using this to engage with school. This has been more effective in terms of parental reach than any of the engagement tools and sessions we have trialled before. We are beginning to use this as alternatives to Open Afternoons, Sharing the Learning Events, Meet the Teacher sessions and to arrange Parent consultations and address any issues or concerns promptly.