Schools are using various methods to keep pupils interested and motivated when learning remotely. @EducationGovUK has been working with schools to develop this series, based on the current experiences and practices of teachers and school leaders.

Many schools have found that engagement and motivation are strongly linked to other areas such as wellbeing and curriculum design.

Teachers may wish to work with parents to create an encouraging learning environment at home by referring to guidance published for parents on supporting their children’s education during coronavirus.

This guidance is part of Remote education practice for schools during coronavirus (COVID-19).

Motivating pupils remotely

Some schools have found that tasks which are short, snappy and easy to understand prevent pupils from feeling overwhelmed when they are being educated remotely. Showing pupils the value of the topic they are studying can help to keep them motivated.

“Within this environment, bite-sized information is the way to sustain interest and engagement,” explained Neelam Parmar of ULT (Ashford School). “Start by offering new content via flipped learning methods to initiate learning (where pupils are introduced to material before class), then add more information during lesson time… and finish off by offering group work and/or activities to deepen learning.”

Stephen Trask of Harris Federation also had a useful suggestion: “Point out the value of learning that topic, beyond just for exams purposes. Again, something like Ted Talks helps here because it gives pupils the ‘bigger picture’.”

Varying activities

Using a variety of appropriate teaching methods and activities can have a positive effect on engagement. Some schools have found collaborative tasks, which involve peer-to-peer interaction, are particularly important for pupils. Neelam Parmar of ULT (Ashford School) said: “I have found that it is effective to use live sessions to introduce new material and/or connect with the pupils for the first 10 to15 minutes and then later offer a pre-recorded presentation or task.”

Stephen Trask of Harris Federation made the recommendation to “build in collaborative elements and tasks that will spark interest (for example, a virtual tour of a museum or Google HQ).”

Jonathan Bishop of Cornerstone Academy Trust emphasised the value of “creating opportunities for, and allowing, discussion and socialisation between pupils during a day.”

Ensuring existing practice works remotely

Some schools have needed to adjust existing practice and resources to ensure they are still engaging for pupils working remotely. Pupils may need more and clearer instructions for independent tasks and they may take more time than usual.

“Reviewing learning resources that colleagues had uploaded into Google Classroom highlighted how vital it is to make your learning instructions extremely clear,” said Bukky Yusuf of Edith Kay Independent School. “For example, think of it from the perspective of your pupils (especially if they prefer to engage with the learning resources you have uploaded for independent learning rather than during a live online lesson).”

Stephen Trask of Harris Federation made a recommendation to “adjust timing expectations. What would take a typical class one hour might take two or three in a remote setting.”

Monitoring pupil engagement

Pupil engagement can be monitored through the completion of set tasks and assignments. Some schools have used technology solutions to enable them to track this.

Steve Smith of HISP Research School at Thornden shared his experience. “The conversation bar on Microsoft Teams allows pupils to make comments during lessons,” he said. “This can also be used as a simple learning check by the teacher to gauge the level of basic understanding via multiple choice quizzes. It allows teachers to see which pupils have sent their work in and to then follow up missing work via emails to pupils and Heads of Year, who in turn email parents.”

“For some staff,” Steve continued, “this has simply been pupils sending in a photo of their work at the end of each lesson for evidence of engagement. Some staff have then used one or two pieces of pupil work sent in to ‘live mark’ with the class the following lesson. This offers feedback and the opportunity for pupils to improve their own work.”

Case studies

Read case studies from schools sharing their experiences on keeping pupils motivated remotely:

  • keeping primary and secondary pupils motivated and engaged at a distance
  • supporting engagement in learning for primary pupils when direct communication is limited

You may also be interested in these articles:


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page