Continuity of learning
The response to COVID-19 has dramatically changed our lives. In this challenging context, the education system has been disrupted but remains of central importance.
During this time when most learners are not able to attend settings and schools in person, the Welsh Government and its partners are working across the education system in a number of ways to offer support to leaders, governors, practitioners, parents, carers and learners in key priority areas.
This document forms part of that work and is linked to the activities of the continuity of learning ‘Stay Safe. Stay Learning.’ programme.
- Live-streaming safeguarding principles and practice for education practitioners pdf 739 Kb This file may not be accessible. If you need a more accessible version of this document please email email@example.com. Please tell us the format you need. If you use assistive technology please tell us what this is
Background – Synchronous vs asynchronous learning
The Stay Safe. Stay Learning – Supporting the education system guidance outlines the steps headteachers and senior leaders should plan to ensure routine contact with learners.
- Headteachers and senior leaders should draw on guidance and develop their school or setting’s approach to a blend of flexible online and offline remote learning for learners both at home or attending Hubs. Remote learning can:
- take place more independently at different points in time, based on the learner’s wishes or home circumstances (asynchronous)
- take place with multiple learners and teachers at the same time, usually online (synchronous).
- Asynchronous approaches provide greater flexibility and can be easier for parents/carers and learners to manage at home, so should be the main approach considered by schools and settings when organising distance learning.
- Synchronous approaches such as live video streaming may be practical and appropriate in certain circumstances particularly in support of learner engagement and well-being. Synchronous or ‘live streaming’ lessons with learners can also be very useful for keeping in contact with learners. Live-streaming of lessons has been well used in many areas where access to particular courses or subjects is limited for geographical reasons; an advantage being that feedback to learners and assessment for learning is instant and interactive.
- Should a setting choose to use synchronous approaches such as live-streaming, governing bodies, headteachers and staff must have full regard to local safeguarding guidance.
- Any live-streaming should be done on a voluntary basis – staff should not be directed to undertake live-streaming of lessons.
- In Wales, all maintained schools have access to a range of online learning tools through Hwb such as Microsoft Office 365 which includes Microsoft Teams. Microsoft Teams can provide an interactive experience and an opportunity to collaborate and engage in a safe and accessible way.
- Decision-making at a school level may determine whether live streaming is appropriate for you to host lessons with your learners. As in any school setting, all accountability is owned by the headteacher and governing body of the school. Therefore this guidance must be observed alongside local authority guidance.
- The Welsh Government recommends that:
- all live-streamed lessons should be carried out using Microsoft Teams via Hwb, rather than an external provider
- the teacher utilises a school issued device
- due regard should be given to the considerations outlined in this guidance to ensure you and your learners are appropriately protected and safeguarded.
Key principles – Safeguarding at the core
- Safeguarding and welfare of learners is paramount and takes precedence over all other considerations.
- At all times you should continue to follow your school’s safeguarding policies. All issues relating to online safeguarding should be dealt with in the same way as face-to-face teaching.
- Schools’ online safety policies, staff and learners’ well-being, safeguarding and distance learning policies should reflect how live-streaming will be carried out and monitored. The 360 degree safe Cymru tool is available free on Hwb and is intended to help schools review their online safety policy and practice.
- Policies and procedures for reporting incidents of misuse must be followed at all times. As outlined in the Keeping learners safe guidance, teachers have a duty to report children at risk (including online abuse) under section 130 of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014.
- If you have any safeguarding concerns about a child, you should discuss these with the Designated Senior Person for Child Protection for your school ensuring your concerns are reported as soon as possible.
- If for any reason you cannot contact the Designated Senior Person for Child Protection for your school, contact the local authority Children’s Services Team and report your concerns.
- If you think a child or young person is in immediate danger then contact the police on 999.
- For further advice on safeguarding at this time please visit the Welsh Government website.
Key considerations – Safe practice when live-streaming
Planning will be critical to ensuring a safe and successful live-streaming lesson. Education practitioners must undertake the following.
- Consider the purpose, benefits and limitations of a live-streaming lesson.
- Consider if an alternative method is more appropriate, e.g. if a demonstration is planned, perhaps a screen recording may be more suitable.
- Consider availability of learners, e.g. will all learners be available, will some need to join or leave at different times? It is recommended that the number of learners on the session is considered.
- Ensure the length of live-streamed lessons are appropriate for your learners.
- Consider the availability/strength of each learner’s network connection and take steps to provide the best possible conditions for stable connectivity if required (i.e. the provision of MiFi devices). If there is likely to be inequality of access due to connectivity issues, hardware issues, caring for siblings or any other reason, you may wish to consider alternative lesson formats.
- Ensure the lesson is planned in advance and sufficient notice should be given to learners and parents/carers as required.
- Seek authorisation from your school’s senior leadership team to live stream lessons and let them know the planned timetable of all lessons.
- Check all content is appropriate and for any tasks requiring online research, check the suitability of the websites prior to the lesson.
- You should ensure that all learners have access to software applications required, this can be facilitated through the Hwb platform.
- Be mindful that if the lesson includes tasks, some learners may require more time than others.
- Ensure appropriate use agreements are in place for all learners involved in live-streaming lessons. The agreement will set out clear expectations from all parties and identify actions that will be taken if the agreement is broken. Please refer to the example agreement for use with online classes below (Appendix 2).
- Familiarise yourself with features of Microsoft Teams and how to use it effectively (more information in the Hwb Support Centre).
Location and camera settings
It is essential you consider your location and camera settings carefully to maintain a professional and responsible disposition at all times. Education practitioners must undertake the following.
- Choose a neutral location that is appropriate and safe. Ensure you choose an appropriate venue (e.g. a living room, a study or a kitchen). Microsoft Teams enables you to change or blur your background display. It is recommended that both you and your learners use this facility.
- Consider carefully what is in view of the camera, i.e. check that the background is professional and does not contain images or information that should not be shared or that could be deemed inappropriate. It may be helpful to ask a ‘critical friend’ to check what is in view of the camera.
- Reduce the possibility of the lesson being interrupted by their own household members or pets.
- Be mindful that not all learners will want to switch their camera on – you should make turning the camera on optional.
- Encourage learners to work from a suitable shared home location where they feel comfortable, preferably accompanied by their parent/carer.
- The use of a headset with microphone (like those available with many mobile phones) is recommended for audio clarity.
Any live-streaming should be done on a voluntary basis and education practitioners choosing to live stream should continue to work in the same professional manner as they would in the classroom. Education practitioners should undertake the following.
- Adhere to professional standards of dress when in front of the camera.
- Ensure there is always at least two members of teaching staff online and present at all times during any live-streamed lesson.
- Not have one-to-one live-streaming lessons with learners.
- Be conscious that in an online environment remarks are being heard by a number of learners and could be easily misconstrued.
- Ensure they end the session for all participants, ensuring learners are not left alone and unsupervised in a session the teacher has left.
- Be mindful of the need for confidentiality; especially if you are live-streaming a lesson from a venue where other adults or children are present.
Recording live-streaming sessions
There is a recording facility available in Microsoft Teams. Your school’s senior management team will need to develop a policy for recording live-streaming sessions.
As a live-stream recording constitutes personal data, you must comply with your school’s data protection policies and GDPR regulations.
If you intend on recording a lesson to share with learners at a later date, this should be done as an asynchronous activity without learners being present in the recording.
Please note: any recordings must not be used for any teacher evaluation purposes.
When working with children and young people you should clearly set out acceptable behaviours and expectations at the beginning of each session.
Education practitioners should undertake the following.
- Clearly communicate that ‘classroom standard’ of behaviour is expected from all attendees.
- Establish expectations from the outset.
- Create and agree clear ground rules and standards of behaviour based on their existing school behaviour management policy.
- Explain the rules at the introduction of the session, e.g. who can speak, how to ask a question or ask for help. If this is the first time that lessons are delivered online, it may take some time in becoming familiar with the new environment. Using the chat function will allow the structured engagement with attendees.
- Continue to remind learners about agreed rules at the start of each session (Appendix 2), and outline how they can raise concerns if required.
Further support and help
Everyone in education services who comes into contact with children and young people and their families has a role to play in safeguarding. If you or a learner experience a problem involving live-streaming you should treat it in the same way as you would in a school setting.
If you have any safeguarding concerns about a child, you should discuss these with the Designated Senior Person for Child Protection for your school ensuring your concerns are reported as soon as possible.
If for any reason you cannot contact the Designated Senior Person for Child Protection for your school, contact the local authority Children’s Services Team and report your concerns.
If you think a child or young person is in immediate danger then contact the police on 999.
Additionally the Professionals Online Safety Helpline is there to help. Contact them on 0344 3814772 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Further guidance on Microsoft Teams can found on the Support Centre on Hwb.
Appendix 1 – Frequently asked questions
What do I do if a learner joins the class from an inappropriate location?
Ideally learners would log into the class from a public area in their home. In some circumstances this may place an unreasonable burden on family spaces.
Staff should assess each situation and discuss with their Designated Senior Person for Child Protection or their Headteacher if they are uncomfortable with the location(s) learners are logging in from.
A learner speaks or behaves inappropriately in a live-streaming lesson – how do I react?
All the normal standards of behaviour apply in the online classroom. Although learners will not be in a classroom environment, where possible, issues should be dealt with in the same way as they would have been if the incident had taken place in a normal classroom environment. Seek advice from your school’s senior leadership team if required.
A learner shares something inappropriate on their screen – what do I do?
Teachers can remove learners if behaving inappropriately. To remove someone, open the participant list and click the X beside the name of the person you want to remove.
If something inappropriate is shared on the screen, teachers should end the session as soon as possible and raise the issue with the Designated Senior Person for Child Protection. All learners in the room can then be contacted as soon as possible after the event to inform them of what happened, and what the arrangements are for future classes.
As per safeguarding guidelines, the education practitioner must write a full account and record in the usual way.
What do I do if learners log on to the lesson dressed inappropriately?
This should be dealt with in the same way as it would be in a face-to-face classroom setting and also comply with rules agreed (Appendix 2).
A learner asks for a one-to-one online chat about a serious issue that is concerning them. What is the protocol for that?
Staff should avoid a one-to-one situation with a learner online. Where a learner needs to discuss a serious issue, an arrangement can be made for another time online with two members of staff present in the meeting.
If a learner refuses to have another person present then the teacher must refer the matter to the Designated Senior Person for Child Protection.
Appendix 2 – Example agreement for use with live-stream lessons
Teachers agree to:
- discuss roles and responsibilities with learners at the outset of all lessons
- notify the school’s senior management team, learners and parents/carers of any scheduled lessons, cancelled lessons or changes in arrangements
- ensure that they keep themselves up-to-date with all relevant policies and procedures, including online safety, safeguarding and data protection policies
- prevent a one-to-one situation at the end of an online class by disconnecting all participants from Teams at the close of the lesson.
Learners agree to:
- be punctual for all lessons
- access the relevant files for each lesson in advance and have the materials to hand
- make sure they have all power adaptors and laptops ready before the lesson begins and are logged into the session
- show respect for everyone in the online classroom
- dress appropriately for all classes, thinking about respect for others
- ensure the location they log in from is appropriate, i.e. give consideration to background, camera angle, privacy, etc.
- seek to contribute to the class in a positive manner and not be disruptive at any time
- not share images of the class.
We would like to thank the following partners for their contributions:
- Regional School Improvement Consortia
- Local and Diocesan Authorities
For further information go to hwb.gov.wales/staysafestaylearning