Where relationships are at the heart of the school and
the school is at the heart of the community

Virtual School - Spring Term 2021

Our approach for the school closure in the Spring Term of 2021 was different to the first lock-down in 2020.

  • We want all students to engage with virtual learning, and to remain engaged, but there is no denying that virtual teaching and learning is a challenge for everyone - students, parents and staff. We wanted to maximise engagement and motivation by providing a clear, structured approach to the school day, creating new learning routines.
  • Our modified approach followed the school timetable (with timings adjusted slightly) and was based on scheduled TEAMS sessions led by teachers. 
  • We remained very conscious that this has been a difficult time for many families, and that lockdown carries significant challenges. Whilst we therefore expect all students to "attend" by logging into their timetabled TEAMS lessons, we are also very understanding of the genuine reasons, including illness, why this may not always be possible. 
  • Working together to resolve IT issues or particular struggles is incredibly important to reduce as many barriers to learning as possible. 

Times are rocky - let's keep education rolling.

During virtual school (periods when the school is closed)

  • Learning will follow the school timetable - there are some slight changes to some timetables which will be emailed for those students affected.
  • Timings of the school day will change to better suit home learning:
Period Time
1 09.00 - 09.45
2 09.45 - 10.30
Break 10.30 - 11.00
3 11.00 - 11.45
4 11.45 - 12.30
Lunch 12.30 - 13.15
5 13.15 - 14.00
Self-study 14.00 - 15.20


  • Teachers are live on TEAMS to instruct, demonstrate and teach the topics at the start of every lesson. They will then monitor the TEAMS site to address questions and support students as they work through their assignments and notebook tasks.
  • The aim is to set work which is short, purposeful and manageable, striking a balance between giving enough to stretch all students whilst avoiding overwhelm.
  • It's really important for students to attend their virtual lessons and this will be monitored. Registers will be taken during each session so that teachers and the leadership team can check everything is OK for those students who do not turn up and encourage attendance at the next session - so you will receive notifications that lessons have started and we will be contacting parents if students are not online.

Teacher availability - wherever possible the teacher will be present, however in cases where teachers fall ill, for example, other arrangements will need to be made, which may include a self-study session.

Key worker children and vulnerable students in school

  • During periods of school closure, the school will be open for children of key workers and vulnerable students. The students will engage in the same learning as the virtual school with additional SEND support staff in school to continue specialist teaching programmes.
  • Further maths and extended English and science masterclasses will also be available for students.

Safeguarding students and staff

Further information is sent by email regarding safeguarding protocols for virtual school remote learning. Please read these carefully. These include:

  • Staff having backgrounds on when they are live broadcasting.
  • Students having their video setting turned OFF.

Tutors will call home to check in, say hello and gain feedback. If they can't get hold of you we will send an email instead.

Technical information

  • We recommend parents and pupils view the video guides below if a refresher is needed, to familiarise yourself with the features of the virtual school, and how to navigate it.
  • When teachers activate their classes, students will be sent a notification to their school email account.
  • Students login to Microsoft TEAMS using this link to access the virtual school.
  • Students should login with the user names and passwords that they use in school.
  • Any issues with logins please follow this link to the IT support desk.

  • When in Microsoft TEAMS, students will see the classes (now called TEAMS).
  • The "class notebook" and "assignment" features in each TEAM/class will be used for setting tasks.
  • The timetable will follow the usual school timetable in terms of subjects, but will run to the altered timings as above. 
  • Teachers will be monitoring messages from students in their classes and responding daily.

Video guides

The Swanage School guide to using Microsoft Teams


Student and parent guide to Microsoft Teams


Short guide on signing in for the first time


Our SENCO's guide to the Immersive Reader in Microsoft Teams