Deciding what to teach in the classroom and what to teach at home.

For some pupils, time in the classroom will be reduced due to the need for social distancing. Schools are now considering which subjects and topics to prioritise for face-to-face, classroom-based teaching.

Deciding what to teach in the classroom and what to teach at home

Schools are making the decision about what to teach (and where) based on their understanding of common misconceptions.

A headteacher of a London secondary school shared his approach. “The topics that have proved easier for pupils to grasp year after year will be taught remotely,” he said. “In history, for example, 1066 is an event that pupils tend to understand quickly. However, the concept of the line of succession is much more difficult, so we will need to address this in person, where teachers can use their expertise in explaining difficult ideas and questioning to make sure everyone understands.”

Similarly, a multi-academy trust of secondary schools explained their method. “We will modify our curriculum plan based on what pupils can do at home and what they can’t. This will be done on a subject-specific basis as some subjects will need more adaptations than others,” said their Deputy Chief Executive Officer.

“Where curriculum sequencing has been adapted, there has been consideration for how this will affect future curriculum planning,” he continued. “In some subjects, this has required swapping or moving whole units of study. In other subjects, bridging lesson sequences will be used to ensure students are fully prepared to access the next stage of the curriculum,” he said.

Prioritising essential knowledge for remote study

Schools are finding that prioritising essential knowledge within subject disciplines is an effective approach for pupils still learning at home.

Loraine Lynch-Kelly, Vice Principal at Saint Martin’s Catholic Academy, explained that

“some modules have been moved (out of sequence) because we feel they require the presence of the teacher for pupils to be able to understand them. We need confidence that pupils can apply this knowledge, so we will save new concepts for face-to-face teaching where possible. For example, in year 9 RE, we have postponed the ‘big picture’ of Catholic Christianity teaching until pupils are back in the classroom. They have touched on some of the basics remotely using Seneca Learning, but the wider topic is so dense with concepts and sources that we have kept it for the classroom.”

“Lots of opportunities for practice will also be needed,” Loraine continued. “But we will expect pupils to do more of this practice independently than if they were in school full-time. This means teachers can focus the reduced time they spend on site with their classes on incisive explanations, modelling, questioning, and feedback.”

Making the most of face-to-face time in the classroom

Faced with the potential challenge of reduced classroom time, schools are considering the teaching techniques and lesson parts to focus on when pupils are on school premises. The important areas of focus for many teachers facing reduced classroom hours are:

  • giving expert instruction or explanation
  • modelling
  • checking for understanding and feedback

Sallie Stanton, Director of Education at Bedford Free School, said that “pupils may be in and out of school on a rota timetable, which will mean we need (even more than usual) to make the most of the time they have with the teacher.”

Supporting pupils to structure their home education

Most pupils are unable to structure their home education independently, and so will need explicit help with that. It’s useful to set them work to do at home that gives them opportunities to practice what has been modelled in the classroom.

Jez Baker, Deputy Headteacher at Saint Thomas Aquinas Catholic School, shared their approach.

“Accurate assessment is crucial to pupil progress, but the assessment processes that work in schools, such as questioning, low-stakes quizzes and recall tests, aren’t always effective online,” he said. “You can set an online quiz but you don’t know the conditions in which it is completed, so the information you receive is less valid. We will therefore prioritise formative assessment during classroom time.”

A headteacher of a London secondary school also shared similar plans. “We will make the most of face-to-face time by asking classroom teaching to be focused on the crucial things a teacher does that cannot easily be replicated remotely,” he explained. “Those things are really high-quality explanations, modelling and questioning.”

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

FE News: The Future of Education News Channel shared a video in channel. 12 hours 54 minutes ago

Educating yourself in Prison: an inside job

Educating yourself in Prison: an inside job

FE News: The Future of Education News Channel had a status update on Twitter 12 hours 54 minutes ago

RT @NCFE: ‘For as long as humans have worked, and whatever industry they may have worked in, success has always been predicated on having t…
View Original Tweet

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 Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 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, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

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