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Headteacher's update 33

Published on 29/06/20

Good evening everyone,

I hope you and your families are all well. Thank you for continuing to support your child with their home learning. We have had lots of feedback from parents/carers and students about the move to using Microsoft Teams for remote learning. In response to this, please see a list of frequently asked questions below, that may help address some of the questions/concerns you may have.


Year 10 Provision

Thank you to our fantastic Year 10 students who have stayed for an additional hour in school today to enable them to have a science lesson in addition to English and maths. The attitude to learning demonstrated by all our Year 10s has been excellent.


Free School Meals for Year 11s

The government have now changed their position on providing Free School Meals over the summer holidays for students in Year 11. We had previously communicated that vouchers for Year 11s would cease on 30th June – but happily this is no longer the case and vouchers will continue until the end of the summer holidays. We apologise for any confusion this may have caused. Please be aware that for the summer we will issue one voucher for the whole of the period.


Microsoft Teams – Frequently Asked Questions

Why is remote learning moving to Teams from Weduc?

  • We did a survey with our Year 10 students which showed that lots of students were having difficulties using Weduc. They found work hard without clear teacher explanation and without the opportunity for a dialogue with teachers.
  • Teams offers the opportunity for better teacher explanation and for a dialogue between students and their teacher.
  • Weduc was designed as a communication tool – not as a remote learning tool. Although the initial stages of moving onto Teams will be a learning curve, Teams does have greater capability to facilitate remote learning in the longer term.
  • All students already have a Teams account, and many of them have experience of using Teams in ICT lessons.
  • Although we really hope to welcome all students back into school in September, there is a chance that there may be further periods when remote learning will be necessary, and Teams offers greater capacity for this.


What will lessons look like on Teams?

  • In some instances the teacher will deliver a ‘live’ lesson meeting. Students will be able to see the slides the teacher has prepared and listen to teacher’s explanation. The teacher will be available to respond to questions from students ‘live’ as if they were in the classroom. Teachers will let students know in advance if the lesson will be a live meeting.
  • In other instances the teacher will have prepared a ‘pre-recorded’ lesson. Students will be able to view the PowerPoint slides their teacher has prepared and will be able to listen to pre-recorded commentary on each slide. Where possible, the teacher will be available to respond to questions posted by students to the Team general channel.
  • For safeguarding reasons, Teams lessons won’t look like a ‘zoom’ or ‘facetime’ meeting where the students can see one-another and the teacher.


How long will a Teams lesson last?

  • Each subject has a two-hour slot. It is very unlikely that the lesson itself, whether live or pre-recorded, will last for two hours. We suggest students use the full two hours to watch their lesson, ask questions of their teacher, and to complete the task they are set.
  • Where possible students should submit work back to their teacher electronically within the two-hour time slot.


When are my child’s lessons?


Why wasn’t my child’s teacher online to answer questions?

  • First – check your child’s timetable. Have they accessed the correct lesson at the correct time?
  • Second – there are instances when teachers will be teaching in school, and therefore won’t be available online when their lessons are scheduled. For example, today one of our history teachers was teaching our ‘Skeleton School’, and so uploaded a pre-recorded lesson and resources to Teams but was unavailable online as they were teaching students in school. This will be a relatively rare occurrence as teachers are only on the rota to teach in school on one day each week.


Should I still complete the work set in Weduc?

  • Teachers will continue to use Weduc to remind students of when Teams lessons are taking place – however all work should now be shared in Teams, meaning Weduc effectively reverts back to being a communication tool, which is what it was designed for.
  • Students may still have Weduc work to complete that was set last week, however they should prioritise their Teams timetable.


My child doesn’t know how to use Teams. Have they been trained?

  • Training students to use Teams has been difficult as, in the main, we’ve had to do this remotely.
  • Year 10 students received some Teams training in school and have engaged well.
  • Students in Years 7 to 9 were set ICT remote learning that was designed to support them in using Teams. To date, 58% of students in Years 7 – 9 have completed this remote learning. Please check if your child has completed it.
  • Your child’s username will be their school email which will be in the following format: e.g. The password will be the password they usually use to log into school computers. For help to reset a forgotten password, please contact


What about other online learning platforms like Mathswatch?
Will my child still need to use them?

  • Teachers may still ask students to complete activities using other online learning platforms, such as Mathswatch. However, this will be directed through Teams lessons. For example a Teams lesson may focus on teaching students about percentages, with follow-up work on percentages set on Mathswatch.


Many thanks for your continued support.

Take care,

Joe Birkbeck
Head of Westfield School