Remote Learning Guide & IT Support (January 2021)

Students will continue to be supported remotely through our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) called ‘Firefly’. There is a student app for iOS and Android and we suggest this is used to enable students to keep track and access all work set. The app can also be used on an iPAD. If you do not wish to use the app, you can still access the VLE via the link via https://vle.williamhoward.cumbria.sch.uk/. Students will use their usual school password to access the platform.

A guide on how to access the work and systems is here: Remote Learning for Students (January 2021)


Remote Education Provision Information for Parents: Remote Learning Policy (Jan 2021)

Please see specific instructions for individual Year Groups below:

Years 7, 8, 9, 10 & 11
  1. Work will be set via the VLE for all lessons.
  2. Work will be consistent with what you would be learning and doing currently in class.
  3. Students will receive an instructional video, lesson instructions and tasks via their ‘task’ section on the VLE
  4. All students should have their exercise books for all subjects at home. Work will be as much as possible set to be completed in exercise books.
  5. Work will be set to last the duration of a normal lesson (60 mins).
  6. All students are asked to mark a task as complete. We will endeavour to contact any students consistently not completing work so please make sure you follow the instructions above to show you have completed the work.
  7. Teachers will be available during timetabled lessons and throughout the normal working day. Any questions can be asked via email or use the live lesson link on your year group timetable on the VLE dashboard. (https://vle.williamhoward.cumbria.sch.uk/live-support-timetables)

Years 12 & 13

  1. All lessons will continue as per your usual timetable. All courses will continue to be delivered remotely.
  2. Your teacher will send you an invite to a live Microsoft teams lesson.
  3. We would expect all students in the designated classes to participate as per usual timetable expectation. Non- attendance will be followed up.
  4. You will receive an email invite to join a ‘Microsoft Teams’ meeting when you have a timetabled lesson. Click on the link at the bottom of the email or download the ‘Microsoft Teams’ app and the meeting will be shown in your calendar in the app.

  1. Powerpoints and lesson resources can be shared during the live lesson and the lesson can be recorded for future reference.
  2. Finally during live lessons please be mindful that everyone can see you so you may want to consider what you wear and where you are! Lesson etiquette remains the same! No students should be in pyjamas or inappropriate clothing. All students must use the ‘blur background’ feature when participating in any live lesson.
  3. No one to one lessons should take place unsupervised.

Firefly Student App

There is a student app for iOS and Android and we suggest this is used to enable students to keep track and access all work set. The app can also be used on an iPAD. You can also access the VLE via the link on our website. Students use their usual school password to access the platform.

The school code required is: WILLIAMHOWARD

This link will give further information about how to use the app: https://helpcentre.fireflylearning.com/students/app/ios/getting-started/quick-tour


Completing Work

Students will receive lesson instructions and tasks via their Tasks section on the VLE

Work should be completed in the students’ exercise books, which they should now have at home. We know that some students will be running out of room in books, or may not have theirs at home currently. If that is the case, please use any suitable paper, or exercise books that you may still have from previous years.

Marking tasks as done – This is how to let the teacher know that work has been completed.


IT Support

We are offering a support service to students who are unable to access their school resources. We will be able to help with login issues for the VLE and Office365, as well as guidance on how to download Office365.

For support, please email studentitsupport@cumbriaeducationtrust.org and a technician will contact you as soon as they can. Please provide as much information as you can in your email, including your login name, and screenshots if possible. DO NOT INCLUDE YOUR PASSWORD.

Please bear in mind we will be prioritising helpdesk requests, and cannot offer support for issues with home computers. We will also need to validate your identity before we can reset passwords.

Office365 – CET Secondary students are entitled to a copy of Microsoft Office365 for use on their home computers, tablets and phones. Instructions on how to access and install the software can be found here: https://support.office.com/en-gb/article/download-and-install-or-reinstall-office-365-or-office-2019-on-a-pc-or-mac-4414eaaf-0478-48be-9c42-23adc4716658


We recognise that many families face challenges around broadband capacity, number of devices available and connectivity, especially with many parents now also working at home. In the last couple of weeks we have distributed a large number of laptops to help, but we know that we cannot overcome all the pressures. Our systems, we hope, do take into account most scenarios, but if there are any particular issues your child is facing please do let us know so that we can try to address them.

Support with Broadband and Data Allowances
We know that streaming video lessons and materials to devices can put pressure on household data allowances, dependent on how families access the internet. There are some systems that various companies have put into place to help, which I would like to highlight to you:

BT Broadband
Have removed the caps on all home broadband plans so that every customer has unlimited data to use to support working from home or remote learning.

Mobile Data Support for families in receipt of Free School Meals
For any family that qualifies for Free School Meals and relies on mobile data to access the internet, using either EE, O2, Vodafone, Three, Sky Mobile, SMARTY, Tesco Mobile or Virgin Mobile, we can apply to have their data allowance increased at no cost. If you think you fall into this category please contact the relevant Year Group Manager as we will need some details from you.

Data SIM cards
We have a number of data only SIM cards that have been donated to us from Vodafone. If you have an old smart phone then one of these cards could be used to enable another device in your household. If this would be of benefit to you please contact your child’s Year Group Manager.

Live 1-1 Teacher Support for students during timetabled lessons
During every timetabled lesson we have subject staff available to give live support. In the past we have done this by holding an open Teams meeting in the form of a seminar which students could join and leave as they wished. However, we don’t feel that this provided the 1-1 support some students needed, and we also know some students did not want to ask for help if they felt other students were watching online. Therefore, we have changed the system slightly. Instead of the open Teams meeting we have provided the students with the contact email of the member of staff available. If the student emails the member of staff, they will call the student into a 1-1 Teams meeting by return and provide the help the student needs. This is much more bespoke for the individual who needs the support. The links for each year group and lessons are on the Live Support Timetables in the VLE.

Contacting Staff
All staff emails are accessible by the students through their school email accounts, and if in doubt about any work they can always drop them a quick message. The staff are excellent at replying and
will do all they can to support. This may be by email or, alternatively, by having a 1-1 Teams meeting with the student. We would of course encourage all students to remember email etiquette when contacting staff. It is both polite and good practice to make sure that the email starts with Dear Mr etc, or a similar salutation. We have had some students who have been over familiar in their tone of emails, and we would remind everyone that emails should read in a similar manner as you would normally converse with the person receiving it. They should not be written like social media posts.

Marking Work as Completed
The day to day tracking of work completion is done by monitoring if students have marked that they have completed the lessons they have been set. All students must make sure they indicate when they have finished their lessons by marking them as complete. If a student has forgotten how to do this they can find the guide on the school website on the VLE to help them. The second stage of work tracking is then the marking of submitted assessments, which check that the learning which the students have completed has been secured. The students will always receive timely feedback on their completed assessment work from their teachers.

Live Teams Meetings/Lessons Protocol
Students who are in live Teams lessons or meetings with staff need to make sure that they always have their cameras on. This creates more of a classroom feel and helps the teacher gauge how students are understanding topics they are covering. It also allows for better interaction around question and answer sessions. These meetings and lessons are also normally recorded so students can review them, and for Safeguarding.

Spare Exercise Books
A reminder that if a student completes their current book in any subject then spare books are available from the front of the school. A selection of sizes, colours and layouts are on the table by the main entrance for people to collect as needed.

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