Paul Whiteman, general secretary of NAHT, which represents leaders in the majority of schools, said: “The principle of schools and teachers working together is a sound one, and we have seen plenty of examples of this happening already in the response to coronavirus.
“Schools have reacted impressively to the coronavirus outbreak. At a lightning pace, under extreme pressure they have formed local partnerships to help one another and share ideas and solutions. Whilst support and guidance from elsewhere can be helpful, it is for each individual school to determine how best to serve its community of pupils and families.
“Online learning is certainly a part of the mix, and the National Academy resources should be considered alongside the offers from BBC Bitesize and the other platforms and providers available. Schools will adopt what they need and what they believe to be suitable and combine it with their own local resources to provide the right offer for their pupils.
“It’s clear that these are interim solutions. These resources have a shelf-life that should not go beyond the coronavirus lockdown in their current form. They cannot replace human interaction or the power of a teacher in front of a class of pupils, and we should not expect them to do so. And we should not overwhelm families. Any online learning being offered should be accompanied by a reassurance that expectations will be limited to what each family is able to cope with.
“Of course, all of the online resources in the world will not help pupils who do not have easy access to the internet. Without more equal access, the benefits of any online learning offers will be unevenly and unfairly spread across the country and will not be felt by all pupils. We would like to see the government and tech companies tackling this as a matter of urgency. More activity to support schools that are responding to the well-being of their pupils is also urgently needed.”
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