Why schools must make the grade with remote education in Winter

Prepared for anything: flu, Covid, strikes and the great British weather

The days may be getting longer now, but Winter is still biting in the UK.  A second Arctic blast is with us along with ice and snow across the country.

This isn’t the only reason that school life has the potential to be hugely disrupted in the early part of this year. Health issues and industrial action in multiple sectors, including education, also present challenges.

School business leaders need contingency plans in place NOW to keep children’s education on track – and their IT networks and capabilities will be a critical success factor.

Twindemic to triple-demic

You’ve probably heard about the twindemic – the flu season coupled with a rise in Covid cases.  This this year, strep A-related illnesses like scarlet fever and impetigo are also running rife in educational settings.

Schools have barely caught up from lockdown and they may continue to face waves of absences among both teachers and children.

Add in the possibility of snow days or extreme weather preventing access, and with strike action taking place during February and March, schools have a challenge ahead to fulfil on learning excellence throughout Winter and into Spring.

Disruptions this year seem inevitable. Remote education will be critical in every school’s ability to cope.

Thanks to the lockdown of 2020, all schools now have some capability for remote teaching and learning. However, the scramble to implement remote working means some IT solutions in schools are far from optimal. Yet, high quality, reliable IT is the key for minimising disruption to learning this year.

Teachers delivering lessons from home – remote teaching possibilities

When bad weather stops teachers getting to school, it shouldn’t mean children miss out on a day’s learning. Being ready with remote education in winter comes into its own.

With the right tech in place, teachers can potentially deliver lessons from anywhere. Today’s interactive classrooms with smartboards coupled with good cloud collaboration solutions and  virtual desktops for teachers can combine to deliver give an effective – and secure – teaching solution.

When it comes to lesson planning and marking, virtual desktops enable teachers to work effectively from home. Teachers are teachers out of termtime too, so the easier their remote working connection the better.

More flexible working options help people get back to work sooner after a sickness absence too.  When teachers catch bugs from their pupils (an inevitable hazard of the profession!), having options to work or teach remotely can minimise the risk of early returns leading to workplace infection or help teachers ease back to responsibilities after flu or Covid has knocked them flat.

Children learning from home – on standby for remote education in Winter

There are many reasons why children may need to learn from home.  If schools are forced to close due to bad weather, learning can be disrupted for entire classes without remote education solutions.

Add to that the expected round of infections in early 2023 and it’s important to plan for student absences. The pressures on the NHS are also making it hard for parents to get appointments for children in some areas to see a doctor.  This may create some knock-on delays in receiving medication and getting students back to school.

However, since many children bounce back quickly from minor illnesses, they’re often well enough to learn even when they remain infectious and can’t be with their classmates.

Striking a practical balance

If schools are unable to stay open to all or some of their pupils during teachers’ strike action, remote learning will play a key role in ensuring children continue to receive an education.

There’s no reason to let students get behind when they’re able to participate, so proactive schools enable them to join in from home using effective remote education technology.

Managing education differently – flexible remote education and working

With the right tech in place, schools can eliminate many of the difficulties of disrupted attendance and combat the disadvantages that teachers and pupils could experience through poor IT.

The hastily-implemented move to the cloud during lockdown may not be delivering the best possible experience for children nor the most cost-effective IT operations for schools.

Rushed IT implementations always create unexpected complexities and often include cobbled connections and solutions. They can lead to redundant or duplicated capabilities – and unnecessary costs.

Schools need to ensure their IT systems are in prime condition.

Evaluating your school’s remote education in winter and teacher working solutions

Is your school ready for remote operations? The first step is often a full IT audit.

Ideally that is done by an experienced IT professionals like Simply IT, but there are some steps you can take yourself to assess where you stand.   For example, in relation to your remote education and working capabilities, is your system:

  • enabling every pupil to learn remotely in class groups and individually, as needed?
  • enabling every teacher to teach remotely, and work effectively and securely from home?
  • seamlessly accessible by all staff and students, all the time?
  • securely protected from intrusion and backed up on the cloud?
  • fully supported, with staff and students able to get IT help swiftly if issues arise?

Remote education, teaching and working is here to stay

Although the pandemic is something we all want to forget, it brought new opportunities to schools that can now help them to adapt to situations that would previously simply have shut them down.  The pandemic taught us many things, but among them was that schools can function remotely and deliver effective education no matter what the weather, what the interruption, or what the health situation.

Don’t be caught out this Winter. Get in touch or book a call and one of our IT specialists can help you arrange an audit of your IT capabilities, and discuss how your school could benefit from reviewing its remote education and working solutions.