Home-based Learning Parent Handbook
From the Headmaster
This digital handbook has been produced by members of the Senior Leadership Team to support parents during the period of home-based learning.
Brisbane Grammar School remains committed to ensuring the physical, intellectual and emotional wellbeing of our students during the COVID-19 pandemic.
That the School has needed to respond to this situation with such speed means that we have not had a long period of time to collect data and refine our process, and it will therefore be important teachers, students and parents openly communicate to share ideas, successes, challenges and problems.
I am confident that we will navigate the next five weeks with resilience and optimism and forge a stronger commitment to learning.
We are also actively planning for the resumption of the regular school day later this term and will guide the boys through this transition once the government and health agencies give schools clearance.
Continuity of learning, wellbeing and social connection for our boys remains the priority.
For more information, please see below.
- Overview: What is the BGS Curriculum Continuity Plan?
- How can parents support their son’s learning at home?
- What are the BGS learning expectations for students during this period of home-based learning?
- What are the School’s designated IT platforms and how will access and use be managed?
- What are the School’s protocols for online engagement?
- How will BGS manage assessment?
- How will my son’s daily timetable be structured?
- What adjustments will made to the Year 12 educational program?
- How will the School seek to communicate with parents?
- Who do I contact if I wish to ask a question or there is an issue with my son’s learning?
- Who can my son contact if he has a question/concern or he has an issue with his learning?
- How will the School continue to improve its online curriculum?
- What is the School doing to ensure cybersafety during this period of home-based learning?
- What will the School be doing to support student wellbeing during home-based learning?
- What will the School be doing to make cocurricular activities available for my son?
The School is committed to continuing the delivery of the Academic, Student Wellbeing and Cocurricular programs and has developed a plan to ensure learning at home is supported by BGS.
- An online school timetable will operate with formal ‘lessons’ designed and delivered by teachers.
- Students will log on and participate in learning as scheduled each day.
- All necessary curriculum materials and instructions are available online via the School’s platforms.
- Homework, revision and study sessions as programmed are essential learning.
- Engagement with learning will be both:
- synchronous (at the same time as the teacher and the class); and
- asynchronous (outside of lessons times, such as follow-up questions, meeting checkpoints and working on drafts).
- Teachers will monitor student engagement and performance and provide feedback.
- IT support will be available for students, parents and teachers.
This advice to parents is drawn from the research literature on home-based learning and from our expertise in educating students.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many parents will continue to work (either at home or away from home). We acknowledge the pressure this new scenario places on households to also monitor learning.
When possible, support your son in the following ways:
- Encourage your son to become more resilient and more independent.
- Show interest in his focus and progress and invite him to share his learning with you.
- Be regularly present but exercise ‘light-touch’ monitoring.
- Check in with him at the end of each day to talk about his progress.
Your son’s response to the online environment will in part be determined by his age, maturity, and capacity to self-regulate his learning and behaviour. Be aware that some students will take time to adjust to the home-based learning environment. Therefore, early support with organisation and developing routines may be required.
To nurture independence and self-regulation:
- Encourage him to use the resources available.
- Direct him to teachers and peers to support his learning.
- Be aware of the routines BGS has established, and the expectations teachers have for students.
- Encourage your son to focus on one subject area and one task at a time.
- If your son experiences difficulties, encourage him to seek support through appropriate channels.
- If your son is unable to make progress in a topic, he should seek clarification via a Teams message or email to his teacher and move on to other study while waiting for a reply.
- Routines are always important in educating young people:
- Set the expectation that your son is ready each morning to engage in the School’s program.
- Make clear your expectations as to how he will spend his school day.
- Encourage regular physical activity.
- Insist that he keep normal bedtime routines. Sleep is vital to maintaining his wellbeing.
- Helping your son to develop physical routines that create a positive learning environment:
- Establish a space/location to learn that is a shared/family space with access to wifi.
- Avoid allowing your son to spend his ‘at home school day’ in his bedroom.
- Check your son can access Canvas, Teams and OneNote.
- Remind your son to check his email and class Teams regularly for updates.
- Assist your son to develop a study schedule to help organise his time effectively.
- Establish clear expectations around social media, music, and the use of other devices.
- Gaming is not acceptable during home-based learning time.
- Mobile phones are not permitted during home-based learning time.
- Expect high standards of behaviour from your son while online.
It is important for all in the community to understand there will be a level of adjustment for parents, teachers, and students as we navigate our way through this period.
Parents are encouraged to maintain contact as follows:
- If your son is unwell and unable to be online, please advise the School of absences via email@example.com.
- Contact your son’s Head of Year if you have concerns about his wellbeing and/or learning. Your son’s Head of Year will engage with Heads of Department and teachers for subject-related issues and will coordinate a response.
Many of the routines expected in home-based learning setting are the same as those expected at school.
The online classroom offers opportunities to develop our students’ capacities for self-regulated learning. This will require a strong partnership between teachers and parents to develop routines at home. Your son will be encouraged and assisted by his Form Tutor and teachers to focus on the following:
- Set up an organised, comfortable and appropriate learning space with minimal distractions.
- Be logged on and ready to start at 8.15am for Tutor Group, including being suitably dressed.
- Make the best use of time by:
- Being organised (knowing the order of lessons and what should be done and when);
- Being prepared for activities by completing preparatory tasks (these are pre-set by teachers);
- Attending scheduled interactive activities with his class and teacher;
- Downloading any learning materials required in advance of a classes; and
- Creating and following a daily and weekly routine based on the School timetable.
- Balance ‘time on task’ (screen time) and relaxation time.
- Abide by the School’s policies regarding the use of technology.
- Save files in Microsoft OneDrive and back up regularly.
- Communicate with teachers regularly (work on other tasks while awaiting a response).
- Abide by the rules for participating in online chat sessions:
- For younger children, ensure an adult in the home is aware an online session is being conducted;
- Respect others’ rights to learn by not disrupting the session;
- Keep the webcam off, except when invited by the teacher to turn it on;
- Keep the microphone on mute unless contributing to the discussion or asking a question;
- Post only appropriate images, text or other content in the chat; and
- Attend the online sessions in a shared space, such as a dining room or lounge room.
The School offers and provides support for Microsoft Teams and Canvas (My Classes) to provide curriculum resources, instructions and assessment specific for each subject. Both products provide tools for synchronous and asynchronous delivery of curriculum.
Students will continue to engage with tasks, revise and complete set activities in OneNote (which can be accessed through Teams). Many subjects also already use good online resources, such as Mathspace, Cambridge, Enhance TV, Digital Theatre Plus, various online music resources etc. These are available in Canvas to which students will be directed by subject teachers.
When students commence their learning in Term 2, they will engage in activities that involve:
- Video sharing
- Online chatting
- Scheduled meetings
- Application sharing
The benefits to students include the ability to provide lessons with teacher explanation, class discussion, sharing screens and allows for social wellbeing check-ins. Virtual delivery allows students to remain connected and engaged with their learning, and with other members of the School community.
- If you have a problem with any applications (e.g. OneNote, Teams, Word etc), close them and open the web versions of these applications via office.brisbanegrammar.com.
- Any faults with Tablets or unresolved problems with applications should be reported to servicedesk.brisbanegrammar.com and BGS ICT staff will provide assistance.
Brisbane Grammar School has high expectations of students at school and in the online environment.
Your son must adhere to the following protocols to promote appropriate use of the software and the safety and privacy of students and teachers. In turn, this will help create and maintain a respectful, responsible and safe learning environment for users.
The protocols teachers will enforce for online chat/meetings are as follows:
- Students are to test their audio and video in advance of lessons;
- The use of a headset is recommended during chat sessions;
- Students should check with teachers how to raise questions (e.g. text chat or audio);
- Students are never to allow any unauthorised access to the online chat;
- Students must not mute or interfere with the participation of any other student in class discussions;
- As per the School’s ICT Use and Privacy Policies, students are not permitted to record lessons or use images from class discussions without the express permission of the teacher (some meetings will be recorded by staff, and when this occurs, students will be advised);
- Students will enable video, when asked by teacher, to share their screen. At all other times, they can leave the video off to conserve bandwidth;
- Students are not to use the chat function unnecessarily;
- At the end of the class discussion students must hang up prior to the teacher;
- Students should use the background blur function and/or avoid distracting settings during meetings; and
- At all times, the use of filters, audio modifiers or other distracting images are prohibited.
- The School will develop comparable assessment instruments so that students, in all year-levels, have an opportunity to demonstrate their learning in Term 2 and so that we can report progress to parents.
- Assessment methodology will vary by subject.
- All variations to assessment will be fair and reasonable and student responses will be matched to clear standards articulated in marking guides.
- The School will communicate the new assessment schedule to students and parents early in Term 2.
- In the event of absences, illnesses and unforeseen circumstances that might impact students' learning, BGS can adjust the dates and conditions for assessment.
- Year 11 students will be required to complete two (2) assessment items in each subject by the end of Term 3 to be credited by the QCAA for Units 1 and 2.
- Specific advice to students and parents of Year 12 regarding QCAA assessment requirements is available from the Dean of Studies (Mr Mark Schumann: firstname.lastname@example.org) and the Director of Student Services (Ms Dale Nicholas: email@example.com).
Following the end of Term 1 transition to home-based learning, the Studies Directorate has developed a revised schedule that responds to staff and student feedback and which reflects best practice structures for the delivery of home-based teaching and learning.
Timetable for BGS home-based learning commencing Tuesday 21 April 2020
8.15am – 8.30am
Tutor Group / Daily Check-in
8.30am – 9.45am
10.00am – 11.15am
11.30am – 12.45pm
1.30pm – 2.15pm
CS: Consolidation Study Session
2.15pm – 3.00pm
PS: Preparation Study Session
3.30pm – 4.00pm
4.00pm – 4.30pm
4.30pm – 5.00pm
How does the home-based learning timetable work?
- Every student will receive a new timetable designed to optimise home-based learning experiences and to provide each school day with a set routine of study.
- Students will continue to study all the same subjects but differently arranged.
- The online timetable runs on a 10-day cycle, meaning that students study their subjects in three long blocks each day followed by dedicated consolidation and preparation sessions.
- The longer sessions of 75 minutes better suit the pace and structure required for effective home-based learning.
- Each school day begins with a wellbeing check-in with tutor groups at 8.15am.
- The short breaks in between lessons enable students to recharge, stretch and move, set up for the next class and resolve minor technical issues.
What do students do during the Consolidation Study Session (CS)?
The CS session is 45 minutes and should be used as three 15-minute blocks where the day’s learning is consolidated, that is, brought together in a meaningful and coherent way. Consolidation is a way of developing and practising the reflective mindset necessary for good revision habits. Checklist for students to consolidate learning each day:
- Locate today’s lesson in terms of your unit outline and/or assessment checkpoints and assign your own progress a rating (1 low to 5 high is a good measure).
- Identify the learning goals from today’s session and restate these in your own words (synthesising your learning to no more than three essential points is effective).
- Re-read your notes from the session, amending and updating these as necessary for clarity and detail, ensuring that you can locate them for future revision.
- Review and edit any writing or exercises undertaken in the session, checking the accuracy and quality of your responses and again assigning your own rating.
- Locate, highlight and revise any new concepts, procedures or content and check understanding.
- Ensure that all documents and resources are correctly named and filed in your OneNote.
- Check that you can locate and understand the requirements for homework and preparation for the next lesson.
- Check your timetable and Outlook calendar to see when this lesson next occurs and schedule your preparation session accordingly.
- If you have any questions, this is a good time to reach out to your teacher or friends via Teams or email.
What do students do during the Preparation Study Session (PS)?
The PS session is 45 minutes and should be used as 3 x 15-minute blocks where learning for the next day is prepared, that is, students ensure they are set up for success. Preparation is essential to maximising the learning in every session; good preparation also reduces anxiety and builds good life habits.
Checklist for students to prepare for learning the next day:
- Check your timetable and Outlook calendar and identify the sessions you have tomorrow.
- Spend 15 minutes on each subject in preparation for tomorrow’s learning.
- Locate tomorrow’s lessons in terms of your unit outline and/or assessment checkpoints.
- Identify the assessment you are preparing for in this unit and when it is due.
- Check that any homework set from the last lesson has been properly completed.
- Review the relevant Team and OneNote and ensure that you are up to date and check whether your teacher has set any additional work in preparation for the lesson.
- Check that any questions you had from the last session have been clarified.
- Ensure any feedback you have received has been recorded and acted on.
- Ensure any additional work or research you have done is correctly named and filed.
- Read/view/review the essential material required in preparation for this lesson, including completion of any pre-quizzes or pre-reading.
- Assign your readiness for each session a rating after completion of all preparation activities.
What do students do during the Homework* sessions?
Homework sessions are intended to be assigned and used differently by different year levels and different subjects.
Homework* sessions are denoted with an asterisk because of these variations and the timings can be adjusted to better suit personal and family needs (e.g. the Homework* sessions could be shifted to commence at 7.30pm).
- Middle School students will only use one or two homework sessions, while Senior School students are likely to use all three.
- Middle School homework typically includes short practice activities to check student progress and understanding.
- Senior School homework will often include research, extended reading, drafting, revision of key concepts and the completion of checkpoints.
The Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority (QCAA) has formalised the following changes to assessment for Year 12:
- All Year 12 students will complete two (2) Internal Assessments (IA) in all subjects (not three as programmed);
- External Assessments (EAs) will proceed in October and November as scheduled; and
- The QCAA will provide schools with reapportioned percentage (%) distributions for IAs and EAs.
The Deputy Headmaster – Teaching and Learning, Mr Uscinski, has advised all Year 12 students and their parents in writing of the specific assessment requirements for each subject, including a summary of IAs already completed.
The Dean of Studies, Mr Schumann, advises the following regarding assessment that is currently in progress and/or upcoming:
- Due dates for assignments and research tasks remain as published. Students should contact the relevant Head of Department if there are issues with meeting checkpoints, accessing resources and staying on schedule;
- AARA processes will continue to apply in cases of illness and difficult personal circumstances via firstname.lastname@example.org; and
- The School will work to ensure optimal timing and conduct of examinations in Term 2 for those subjects that require one IA in an exam setting (e.g. Mathematical Methods and Geography).
The Queensland Minister for Education, the Hon. Grace Grace recently advised the following:
- All Year 12 students will be given the chance to achieve a QCE in 2012 (there will be no Year 13);
- Assessment will be fair for all; and
- ATARs will be released in a nationally consistent window of dates at the end of 2020.
The School will continue to communicate through already established channels – BGS website, weekly newsletter and emails.
The Headmaster will keep parents updated on major announcements from Federal and State Government, Public Health Agencies and the School’s response to the COVID-19 situation.
Heads of Year, Assistant Heads of Year and Form Tutors will contact parents directly via phone or email to check in to see how online learning is progressing, or to respond to a particular issue.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your son’s Head of Year in the first instance. If necessary, Heads of Year contact relevant members of staff to address your question or concern.
Head of year and Assistant head of year
Years 5 & 6
If an urgent matter arises, parents should contact the School’s Main Administration on (07) 3834 5200.
For academic matters, your son should contact his normal subject teacher directly.
If your son needs assistance for wellbeing matters, he can contact his Form Tutor, Head of Year, Assistant Head of Year or one of the School Counsellors in Student Services.
Students are encouraged to make use of our confidential counselling and wellbeing services.
The School will routinely collect data in pursuit of ongoing improvement. A range of quantitative and qualitative data will be collected to examine student wellbeing factors, along with engagement and progression in learning.
Part of the data collection will involve regularly inviting stakeholders to provide feedback via surveys – teachers, students and parents will be contacted and invited to participate.
The School’s long established and comprehensive Child Protection Policies and procedures apply in the online learning environment.
Other School polices that serve to regulate online behaviour are:
- Code of Conduct Policy
- ICT Use Policy
- Bullying Policy
- Social Media Policy
Parents are welcome to view these policies on MyGrammar.
The reporting of any concerns relating to student safety will be made following the reporting guidelines included in the Child Protection Policy.
Student wellbeing remains a priority for the School during this difficult time. Heads of Year and Form Tutors will be communicating directly with families over the coming weeks
Student connection remains a priority during this time. Towards the end of Term 1, the Student Wellbeing Team commenced planning for high levels of student engagement and connection while students are learning from home. Year level and class activities will ensure students communicate regularly with their peers and teachers, maintain a connection to their form class and provide opportunities for fun
The Director of Student Wellbeing Programs has produced a broad range of learning resources to facilitate the online delivery of the curriculum across Years 5 – 12. The spiralling curriculum will remain responsive to student needs and will be informed by student survey data and the latest research. The Student Wellbeing Curriculum will be delivered by Form Tutors as per the Learning Schedule.
In addition, a digital platform is being developed to communicate wellbeing initiatives and will be launched in Term 2.
Virtual assemblies will also occur as an opportunity for the School to connect and for key staff to deliver important messages. Heads of Year will facilitate year level assemblies as part of the Student Wellbeing program.
The Outdoor Education Team has developed an alternative Outdoor Education program for Term 2. This will be communicated to students by the Outdoor Education team and will commence in Week 2 Term 2.
The Student Services department is also in full operation with School counsellors available to consult with any students who are having trouble or concern.
For all Terms 2 and 3 Sports and Activities, program leaders are providing weekly training programs. These will be accompanied by supporting videos, where applicable. Program leaders will be tracking engagement in these programs. Students may access these programs via MyGrammar.
Head Coaches will work directly with flagship squads and development team members to ensure they are undertaking more specific home-based training.
In addition, the Performance Development team will provide GrammarFit, each school-day morning throughout the home-based learning period. These 30-minute general workouts, for all ages and levels of fitness, will be available at 7.00am each morning, commencing from Tuesday 21 April. Details for accessing GrammarFit are available via the MyGrammar Cocurricular page.
Instrumental and vocal tuition, as well as selected ensemble rehearsals will continue online throughout the home-based learning period, as will rehearsals for our dramatic productions. Program leaders have communicated with these students and will continue to do so.
A comprehensive Cocurricular program overview, including the list of Activities (internal clubs and special interest groups), which have transitioned to online delivery, is available here.