West Sussex Music Trust Online Learning Policy
Date: December 2022
Author: James Underwood, Chief Executive, West Sussex Music Trust
Responsible Trustee: Claudia Golden, West Sussex Music Trust
Online Learning is an option for weekly instrumental / vocal lessons and ensemble rehearsals when face-to-face teaching cannot take place.
Parents/carers will be given the opportunity to engage in online lessons to ensure continuity of learning, in place of regular weekly lessons that will otherwise be missed.
The following policy is in place to ensure that Online Learning is conducted in an effective and safe way.
West Sussex Music Trust has reviewed the marketplace for an online learning platform that satisfies the needs of teachers and pupils. We have looked for a platform that:
- is easy to use
- is suitable for a broad demographic of home user
- has high-definition video
- has quality audio
- can be used in line with our safeguarding policies
West Sussex Music Recommends ‘Zoom’
Our recommended platform for online learning is Zoom.
We looked closely at platforms that can be used on both IOS and Android devices.
Zoom is quickly gaining popularity with small businesses and large enterprises alike. Founded in 2011, it is rapidly becoming one of the best and most trusted tools for video sessions, online classes, and webinars.
Note: Please be aware that connectivity and bandwidth may be an issue with increasing numbers of individuals and businesses alike turning to e-based solutions for their work.
Zoom is a free yet powerful cloud platform that allows multiple pupils to connect to a single call with high-definition video, audio, and file sharing. This ensures that group, as well as individual instrumental lessons, can be an option.
Zoom offers video lessons, annotation features, whiteboards and many other features to support learning.
We have found Zoom easy for teachers to use. Once Zoom is installed on your machine, setting up a lesson with a parent/carer simply involves sending a link inviting them to join. It is not necessary for parents/carers to have an established Zoom account.
West Sussex Music will support online lessons using other platforms such as Google Hangouts, Skype and FaceTime, however ensemble rehearsals are only available via zoom. West Sussex Music does not endorse the use of networking applications such as Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram and WhatsApp.
For online learning to take place you will need:
- A computer, tablet, or smartphone
- A headset or ear buds (particularly if you are participating with a laptop)
- A webcam. Most laptops now have built-in webcams
- A broadband connection with sufficient data allowance: WIFI or ethernet
Safeguarding and Code of Conduct
Safeguarding is just as important when teaching online as it is when teaching face-to-face.
Prior to participating in online learning, please refer to the following West Sussex Music Policies and guidelines which can be found on our website:
- Safeguarding & Child Protection Policy
- Acceptable Use of IT Policy
- Data Protection Policy
In addition, teachers, parents/carers and pupils must:
- only agree lessons at times mutually agreed by the teacher and parent/carer
- begin and end each lesson with a conversation between the West Sussex Music teacher and parent/carer. On no account can the lesson take place without a direct conversation with the parent/carer at the outset or end.
Please note that a conversation between the West Sussex Music teacher and the parent/carer is not required for ensemble rehearsals.
- ensure that: o parents remain in lessons at all times with primary pupils (key stage 1 – 2). Should they need to leave the room at any point the lesson will be terminated
- parents use their own discretion whether to remain with secondary school pupils (key stage 3 – 4) after the initial conversation but must return for the end of the lesson
- parents are aware that there is no need to remain with pupils age 16+ after the initial conversation (key stage 5)
- conduct the lesson in a public setting i.e. the lounge, dining room or common use area in the house, not giving away where they live. Pupil’s bedrooms must never be used for an online lesson
- ensure only parent/carer email addresses are used for setting up lessons online with a teacher. Pupil email addresses must not be used
- protect themselves from accidental inappropriate digital contact with pupils by restricting their profile so that it does not automatically accept contact requests and is not accessible to others
- use an appropriate profile picture and establish a professional, respectful manner when using their chosen online platform
- ensure that the chosen online learning platform is not used for any other contact, eg. sharing photos or general messaging
- dress appropriately and use a neutral background. WSM teachers must wear their WSM ID badge.
- take care that the frame is well chosen and appropriate – it may be necessary to widen the frame depending on your instrument
- not make recordings of lessons/ rehearsals other than those sessions recorded by West Sussex Music for educational or training purposes
If the teacher is uncomfortable with the way the lesson is progressing, or the parent/carer is not in the room, they will terminate the lesson.
This is the fourth version of Online Learning Policy and, in line with anticipated developments in IT, we reserve the right to update or revoke our policy with immediate effect