Case Study

Landau Forte Academy Amington’s Remote Learning Accreditation helps evaluate the quality and impact of its teaching

Challenge

Having pivoted quickly to full curriculum remote learning in response to national lockdown, the team at Landau Forte Academy Amington wanted to demonstrate to students, parents, Governors and the wider community, the extent of its achievements during a very challenging time for everyone. 

Solution

Looking for a methodical, practical way to evaluate their provision, align it to best practices, and further inform the school action plan, Amington applied for Tribal’s recently launched Remote Learning Accreditation, designed to support and recognise high-quality remote education. 

Landau Forte Academy Amington’s Remote Learning Accreditation helps evaluate the quality and impact of its teaching. 

 

Landau Forte Academy Amington prides itself on academic success and exemplary pastoral support and guidance for its 960, 11-16 year old students. So when, just one term into his principalship, Andrew Deen was faced with the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, he was determined that every student would feel part of the positive community he had been nurturing prior to lockdown, and crucially, that there would be no loss of learning. Keen to assure the quality of the remote learning provision the academy has been delivering, and to inform their longer-term action planning, Amington recently applied for - and achieved – the nationally recognised Remote Learning Accreditation (RLA) quality mark. 

Building and evaluating hybrid learning models 

Even before Department for Education recommended the practice in February 2020, Landau Forte Charitable Trust, the multi-academy trust (MAT), provided 135 laptops to families in the Amington community to ensure 100% of students were able to access learning remotelyThe trust also invested in infrastructure and software that enabled staff to successfully deliver lessons to whole classes from home-to-home, school-to-home, or home-to-school – wherever staff or students might be at the time. However, senior leaders at Amington knew that they could not simply ‘lift and shift’ their classroom teaching to the virtual environment. So, the remote learning team set about supporting teachers to develop an intentional, ‘nuanced’, hybrid approach, aligned to best practice, which would benefit students long after their return to school. Principal Andrew Deen explains:  

“We were very clear in our intention that our remote learning provision was not a stopgap; when the pandemic is over and students return to school full time, we will continue to extend the curriculum, beyond the school day, via our remote platform. So for us it was never just about ensuring continuity of provision in the short-term, it was also about providing an effective model to enable every student to fill identified gaps in their learning, without the need to spend extra time onsite in the future. ” 

In early March 2020, Ofsted inspected Amington’s remote learning provision and the team received praise and positive feedback, but when the new Remote Learning Accreditation audit tool from Tribal was launched, the teaching and learning team was keen to embark on the deep-dive self-evaluation required to achieve accreditation. Andrew shares why they saw value in Tribal’s practical framework: 

“Tribal’s Quality Assurance experts’ RLA framework supports and focuses our knowledge and planning. For example, we investigated why some students’ progress was in fact accelerated in the virtual environment, and examined what gains can be made now we’re back in the classroom.

By closely evaluating our remote provision and how students have received it, we know that it is a more efficient process to move through key content online. Delivering new knowledge virtually is much more systematic in the instructional phase. So, making our body of knowledge available online will be of benefit, to students across the ability range.  

We also know from experience and current research that a blended approach works best online, where the teacher initiates a live lesson, provides a model, students access the model, apply their learning (through deliberate practice) and then they are assessed with the teacher providing targeted feedback. 

The self-evaluation of our teaching and learning informs our action planning to deliver our vision that our full curriculum is seamlessly and readily available remotely, open for our entire learning community to access… We’ve joked about it, but we’re now in a position where there will never be a ‘snow day’ ever again!” 

Methodical self-evaluation and reporting against best practice 

Overseen by Amington’s Quality Assurance Lead for Remote Learning, the accreditation process began with a meeting with Cliff Mainey, Principal Inspector and national Education Specialist. Together, they examined the audit tool, reviewed models of adequate evaluative writing, and discussed ways to make the process as meaningful as possible to staff, students, Governors and the wider community. Andrew summarises: 

 “Cliff made us think about our provision, strategically, to consider how we add value to learners at every opportunity.  The full self-evaluation process we went through helped us to identify and communicate our successes, as well as finding areas for development which we could then feed into our action plan. 

It’s refined our quality assurance process, ensuring we offer support and coaching conversations with staff to maintain the quality of their teaching, remotely. This has been really important for us; making sure staff were able to continue their development, even during a period when some colleagues were homeschooling their own children! 

Our Remote Learning Accreditation is our way of saying to all of our teachers and support staff that they should be incredibly proud of all that they have achieved over the last eighteen months.”  

A national accreditation to be proud of 

Having completed the framework in early May and submitted their evaluative judgments to Tribal, for review, the Amington team then had a final meeting with their RLA Assessor to demonstrate they had successfully met the criteria and were awarded the prestigious quality mark at the start of July. Andrew explains why other academies and schools might consider using the RLA framework as part of their school improvement journey: 

“The RLA audit did require a deep dive into our provision, but it was not an onerous process for us, and is an achievement that every person in our learning community should be really proud of. 

If you’ve deployed high quality teaching in a remote environment, and your safeguarding and daily engagement processes are in place – the Remote Learning Accreditation framework is a great way to self-evaluate and report back to your stakeholders that you are delivering effectively to a national benchmark. So it’s well worth going through the process. 

And if you’re not as far along in your journey, the team here at Landau Forte Amington would be happy to share our best practice with your school. As one of the first schools nationally to achieve the Remote Learning Accreditation, we believe our teaching and learning is one of our strengths, and we are keen to help other academies and schools achieve the same success.” 

If your school has taken remote education beyond ‘the basics’ and you want to enhance your quality assurance, aligning your provision to globally accepted best practice, find out how you can complete the Remote Learning Accreditation and celebrate your successes: https://www.tribalgroup.com/remote-learning-accreditation  

"If you’ve deployed high quality teaching in a remote environment, and your safeguarding and daily engagement processes are in place – the Remote Learning Accreditation framework is a great way to self-evaluate and report back to your stakeholders that you are delivering effectively to a national benchmark. So it’s well worth going through the process. 

And if you’re not as far along in your journey, the team here at Landau Forte Amington would be happy to share our best practice with your school. As one of the first schools nationally to achieve the Remote Learning Accreditation, we believe our teaching and learning is one of our strengths, and we are keen to help other academies and schools achieve the same success.” 

If your school has taken remote education beyond ‘the basics’ and you want to enhance your quality assurance, aligning your provision to globally accepted best practice, find out how you can complete the Remote Learning Accreditation and celebrate your successes.

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