George Dixon Academy

Portland Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B16 9GD

0121 566 6565

Remote Learning at GDA

Remote Learning at GDA

Remote education provision: information for parents

This information is intended to provide clarity and transparency to George Dixon Academy students and their families about what to expect from remote education if local restrictions require entire cohorts (or bubbles) to remain at home. 

For details of what to expect where individual students are self-isolating, please click here. 

The remote curriculum: what is taught by GDA staff when government instructs the closure of the academy and students work from home

With immediate effect, the academy will move its curriculum online, teaching precisely the same content online as would be taught face to face. To achieve this, teachers will use a mixture of the Class Notebook and ‘live’ lessons via Microsoft Teams.

The exceptions to the above, however, are Art, Food and Textiles at Key Stage 4. Due to the need for specialist equipment at Key Stage 4 level of study, the practical elements of these courses cannot be continued remotely. As such students will concentrate on the topics that can be taught remotely allow for time to be spent on the practical elements once a return to face-to-face teaching is permitted. 

Remote teaching and study time each day

At George Dixon Academy, we expect that remote education (including live lessons and work completed independently via the Class Notebook) will take our students broadly the following number of hours each day:



Number of hours

Number of lessons

For those students who are not working towards formal qualifications (Year 7, 8, 9)

5 hours

4 x 1 hour 15 minute lessons

For those students in their first year of study towards formal qualifications (Year 10 and 12)

5 hours

4 x 1 hour 15 minute lessons

For those students in their final year of study towards formal qualification (Year 11 and 13)

6 ¼ hours

5 x 1 hour 15 minute lessons


Accessing remote education

Students at George Dixon Academy will access all of their remote education via Microsoft Teams. Here, they will find subject specific information posted by their teachers, independent work for completion via the Class Notebook tab and access to any ‘live’ teaching through the video conferencing feature available there. Students will not need access to multiple sites but will need access to the OneNote app if they are working on a tablet type device.

We recognise that not all of our students have suitable online access at home. We, therefore, take the following approaches to support those students and their families to access remote education:

  • Chromebooks will be loaned to families, subject to agreement and adherence to the academy’s acceptable use policy, whose circumstances are such that they are eligible for such help, e.g. they are in receipt of Free School Meals etc. Further information can be sought via your child’s Head of Year / the academy’s pastoral team.
  • Routers will be loaned to those families who do not have sufficient internet access. Again further information can be sought via the relevant pastoral team for your child’s year group.
  • For those families who do not meet the academy’s criteria for a loaned device, they can attend the academy daily as a vulnerable child, as defined by the Secretary of State for Education.

How George Dixon Academy students will be taught remotely

We use a combination of the following approaches to teach remotely:

  • Live teaching (online video conferencing via Teams)
  • Recorded teaching (screen casts / audio recordings made by your child’s subject teacher)
  • Commercially available websites that support the teaching of specific subjects or areas such as but not limited to: BBC Bitesize, Mathswatch, YouTube, GCSE Pod.


George Dixon Academy expects students to engage fully with their remote education. We expect students to follow their timetable as normal, attending Form Time on the days scheduled (Mondays and Fridays) at 8.45 am. Live subject lessons start from 9.05 am and follow the academy’s ordinary lesson timings for the day.

The minimum number of live lessons, to supplement teaching via your child’s Class Notebook, are delivered as follows:

Key Stage 5



Frequency (minimum)


All subjects studied

Once per week


All subjects studied

Once per week

Key Stage 4



Frequency (minimum)


All subjects studied

Once per week


All subjects studied

Once per week


Key Stage 3

Year  Subject Frequency (minimum)
7, 8, 9




Once per week





Once per fortnight



Creative / Practical

Once per half term

Your child’s teacher may schedule more live lessons than outlined here due to the nature of what is being taught or the level of support required by the class.

Families are not expected to support their child with their remote education any more than they would be required to support their child’s completion of ordinary homework. We do, however, expect families to support their child with maintaining ordinary routines by following the academy timetable. 

Your child’s teacher will monitor your child’s engagement with live lessons, and the completion of their independent work in their Class Notebook shortly after the lesson has ended. Engagement trackers will be completed on a weekly basis documenting your child’s engagement with their remote education. 

Where a student is failing to engage with their remote education, families will be contacted in the first instance by the subject teacher, before your child’s pastoral team makes contact. Families may also receive telephone calls from various leaders in the academy such as Heads of departments, Assistant Headteachers, etc. In some cases home visits may be made to some families where a student’s lack of engagement is a cause for concern.


Feedback can take many forms and may not always mean extensive written comments for individual children. For example, whole-class feedback or quizzes marked automatically via digital platforms are also valid and effective methods, amongst many others. Our approach to feeding back on pupil work is as follows:

  • Students will receive acknowledgement feedback on the majority of pieces they submit. This feedback may come in the form of a Praise post in the general or subject channel on Microsoft Teams, verbal feedback in a live lesson or inserted as an audio file, or in written form on the actual work in the student’s Class Notebook.
  • Every sixth piece of work will be deeply marked as students will be provided with opportunities to demonstrate their learning and to apply what has been taught independently. For such pieces of work, students will receive feedback following the academy’s chosen method for feedback which is PIN (Praise, Improvement and Next steps) where students will receive a written comment for each letter of the acronym relevant to the learning objective for the lesson and the student’s stage of learning.

Additional support for students with particular needs

At George Dixon Academy, we recognise that some students, for example some students with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), may not be able to access remote education without support from adults at home. We acknowledge the difficulties this may place on families, and we will work with families to support those students in the following ways:

  • Guidance is given to staff on how to differentiate the work they prepare for students and staff are additionally supported by the SEND Team in this preparation.
  • Where appropriate SEND students are allocated time in the Academy so they can access appropriate support with the SEND Team.
  • SEND students are supported via break out TEAMs sessions so additional guidance can be given.
  • All SEND student engagement is reviewed at a weekly meeting to further assess how greater support can be given to enable a student to maximise their engagement in remote learning.
  • Students with EHCP and more complex needs have a key worker who makes regular well-being calls, however families can make contact when needed with their allocated member of the SEND Team.

Remote education for self-isolating students

Where individual students need to self-isolate but the majority of their year group remains in the academy, remote education is provided via the Class Notebook on Microsoft Teams. Students are expected to complete the work set in the Class Notebook independently. Engagement with the work set there is crucial as self-isolating students are set the same work as students who are present at the academy. 

Students are expected to following the academy timetable in order to retain structure to their day. The volume of work set is the same as is outlined above (see the Remote teaching and study time section). The only difference between remote education for self-isolating students and when local restrictions are put in place for whole cohorts is the teaching of ‘live’ lessons via video conferencing. It may not always be possible to provide access to video conferencing with self-isolating students when providing face to face teaching in the classroom at the academy.

Work is marked and feedback is given in line with the academy’s marking and feedback policy (further information regarding this can be found above in the feedback section).

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