This blog looks at 7 areas that teachers will face practical day-to-day challenges in their ‘hybrid classroom’ environment – is your school working on all of these?  

Schools will face a difficult time in the Autumn. There are predictions of a ‘second wave’ of coronavirus as well as potential lock lockdowns and a high rate of absence due to self-isolation.  

This is the fourth in a series of articles about the practical issues that will face schools in the autumn as they return to the ‘new normal’ of teaching. We’ve gathered ideas from our partner schools and knowledge of educational technology to help you meet these challenges. 

This first blog looked at supporting new teachers in your school, especially newly qualified teachers (NQTs)The second looked at recruiting and retaining staff, and the third at wider staff training.

New Normal hybrid Teaching

1. Managing shared resources 

It’s not until they are not allowed to move from a room or ‘bubble area’ that most teachers realise how much they rely on different areas of the school. Whether it’s books from the library, photocopying or even just spare pens from the staffroom, teachers will have to rely on what is in their area. This may mean schools need to buy more resources, remind teachers daily of the rules on movement and move to digital provision where possible!   

2. Managing movement  

Schools are performing heroic feats with new timetables that keep children as far apart as possible, but teachers will also bear a heavy responsibility in managing movement in and out of hybrid classrooms and departments. Can all teachers safely get one class out of a room before bringing another one in? And how will they manage duties?  

3. Managing the curriculum 

The ‘hybrid’ school means that different curriculum decisions may be needed – for example some subjects may be better suited to home learning while others will be better covered in the classroom. At the same time, digital technology means that schools can expand what they can teach. We covered this in more depth in our recent ‘Classroom of the Future’ blog here. 

4. Managing Pastoral support 

While the UK Government has been quick to introduce new ideas around discipline in England responsibility for pastoral support lies with individual schools – and in schools this often involves individual teachers or support staff who have built up strong relationships with pupils. Removing this face-to-face contact may be difficult – one solution might be to let pupils nominate and meet online regularly with these staff.  

5. Managing Information and Communication Technology (ICT) support 

While teachers have performed well using remote technology, there have been many problems and a recent survey shows a clear demand for supportIt’s important to remember that new teachers and new students will not have had the same remote experiences and will need urgent training in the first few days at school on the systems you use. 

6. Managing the move between face to face and remote teaching 

Schools will not have much notice of local lockdowns or enforced quarantine if a student or teacher tests positive for COVID 19 – and a higher proportion of students may be missing from lessons as families isolateThat means that it may be worth teachers using the same systems used in remote learning – for example posting class- or homework on Google Classroom or Microsoft Teams or sticking rigidly to a curriculum plan.  

7. Managing parents 

There will be fewer opportunities for face-to-face parent and carer contact – in many schools, especially primary schools, this would often take place at the start or end of the school day. Parents will also be more anxious than usual, especially at the start of the year if their child is new to the school. Schools need to set out clear protocols for communication that balance the need to keep parents informed with reducing stress on teachers.  

The New Normal series of blogs offer practical tips for school leaders and teachers to help them adapt to the new ways of teaching and learning. Make sure to subscribe to our newsletter to receive the whole series and the final guide book at the end.