Online Music Lessons

Online Learning Safeguarding Policy 2020

 

Online Learning Policy for Remote Vocal & Instrumental Teaching (Video-Lessons)

Statement 

In order to provide continuity of service for our young people and adults in the Royal Borough of Kingston, Kingston Music Service will support the delivery of video-lessons online during the period of social distancing in lieu of face to face lessons.

KMS tutors will use Google Hangouts to deliver live video-lessons via the internet.

Terms & Conditions

Kingston Music Service standard Terms and Conditions apply. Parents/Carers can book lessons via: www.kingston.gov.uk/music

Safeguarding

Just as in a face-to-face lesson, all KMS safeguarding policies and procedures still apply when teaching/learning online. 

Any concerns about the health and wellbeing of pupils must be communicated to the KMS Designated Safeguarding Leads immediately.

Our full safeguarding policy is available to read here: Kingston Music Service Child Protection Policy 2019

Technical Information

Since RBK already uses G-Suite for everyday business, KMS recommends the use of the Google Hangouts platform. All KMS e-lessons must take place via the Google Hangouts platform in order to ensure safeguarding protocols are specific to the functions of the software and to allow for greater technical support to tutors, parents and carers.  There is no cost to use Google Hangouts for either parents/carers or tutors. 

The use of laptop/desktop is preferable due to improved functionality and security. However, in order to increase accessibility for all teachers and learners, it is possible for lessons to be facilitated on mobile devices via the Google Hangouts app. In this case, additional precautions must be taken including ensuring that the tablet/phone is mounted on a stand or table and not hand-held; to avoid the accidental sharing of private or confidential data/images.
 

Online Learning Code of Conduct: Mandatory Guidance 

  • All video lessons must be arranged with the full knowledge and consent of an adult responsible for any participants under the age of 18. To ensure this, KMS tutors must only initiate video-lessons via the email address of a named adult with parental responsibility for their pupils. Where parental consent has been obtained, it is permissible for the pupils over the age of 16 to schedule their lessons directly with the tutor via email only if the pupil uses a dedicated email account that the parent/carer maintains shared access to. 

  • When creating an e-lesson on Google Hangouts and inviting parents/carers via email, tutors must also cc: [email protected] and include the date/time of the lesson. 

  • KMS tutors will be required to use their dedicated RBK email account for all communications regarding the scheduling of lessons and for initiating lessons via Google Hangouts. It is not admissible for tutors to use their own personal email accounts for this purpose. 

  • All participants and all members of their household will be expected to wear suitable clothing at all times whilst the lesson is taking place. 

  • Language must always be professional and appropriate during video-lessons, including that of all other members of either household. 

  • Lessons must take place in an appropriate room in the home and wherever possible, not in the pupil’s bedroom. 

  • All lessons must be supervised by an adult with parental responsibility for the pupil(s). Ideally the parent/carer will remain in the room for the duration of the lesson, however this may not always be possible or desirable. As a minimum, the parent/carer should remain in the general proximity throughout (e.g. by remaining in the building with the door to the teaching room being left open) and will ideally be present in the room at the beginning and end of the lesson. Alternatively, the parent/carer could supervise the lesson digitally, by joining the Google Hangouts conference on another device. In this case the adult must join the conference before the child. It may be preferable for the supervising adult to mute their microphone so as not to disrupt the lesson with background noise. 

  • Lessons should take place during reasonable working/learning hours. What is reasonable will be dependent on the age of the individual pupil concerned and a matter of negotiation between the parent/carer and tutor. 

  • Tutors must ensure that the teaching environment, both physical and digital (including desktop backgrounds and open tabs, software, documentation) are professional and neutral (e.g. family photos would be inappropriate). 

  • Extra-care must be taken by all parties to ensure that private or sensitive information and data is not accidentally shared during a video-lesson. Bills, receipts, documents (both physical and digital) and letters/emails should not be on display. All members of both households should be aware that the video-lesson is taking place and be mindful of this. 

  • To further prohibit the accidental sharing of private/confidential data/images, it is required that when lessons are delivered or received via a mobile device, such as a tablet or phone, the device is securely mounted on a stand or flat surface (not hand-held) before the video-lesson is due to start. 

  • Recording lessons is prohibited. Google Hangouts can make video recordings of meetings/lessons. Whilst there are arguable benefits of doing this (quality, training, safeguarding), it is not permitted for either party to record lessons unless written permission has been granted by KMS Senior Leadership Team. This is because KMS can not ensure the security of the storage of these files or guarantee limitations of their future use. 

  • Tutors must not share their personal phone numbers with pupils or interact with pupils via social media, even for the purposes of sharing lesson content. Tutors and pupils must not ‘friend’ or ‘follow’ each other via social media accounts. Video-lessons are only permitted to take place via Google Hangouts and not other webcam or video chat platforms. 

  • Google Hangouts’s chat feature may be used during lessons for the purposes of supporting pupil learning, however all content must be appropriate. The chat function may not be used outside of a scheduled lesson or for social purposes. 

If at any time during or after a video-lesson the terms and practical measures set out in the Code of Conduct are not followed by either party, the lesson should be terminated and the reason for this communicated afterwards. 

If parents/carers, pupils and/or tutors breach the terms of this policy, KMS withholds the right to terminate their contract without further pay or cancel all remaining lessons without refund.  

Additional Clauses for Tutors

  • All video-lessons should be set up in advance with the Google Calendar function and then emailing the ‘meeting link’ to parents/carers before the lesson.

Best Practice Guidance for Tutors

  • How to use Google Hangouts: https://support.google.com/a/users/answer/9282720?hl=en

  • It is recommended to use headphones wherever practical for both tutor and pupil in order to minimise feedback

  • It is not going to be possible to play simultaneously with pupils during Google Hangouts lessons (e.g. for the purposes of accompanying) due to the lag inherent in this form of communication. Alternative approaches will be required, such as utilising backing tracks or pre-recording accompaniments and sending these to your pupils. 

  • Consideration will have to be made for how to approach teaching and learning in this environment, it may not for example be possible to see the pupil’s music. Additional preparation and alternative approaches may be required (e.g. parents could email a jpg or photograph of the music in advance). 

  • For some instruments (e.g. piano/keyboard) it may be advantageous to have a two-camera set up (to show hand positions, for example). This can be achieved with Google Hangouts’s split screen functions and a second webcam. It is possible to utilise a phone/tablet as a second webcam using an application such as EPOC Cam. Alternatively, tutors could invite themselves to the meeting and join on a second device, however care must then be taken to mute the microphone and speaker of this device to avoid feedback. 

  • The use of ‘screen sharing’ could be a valuable pedagogical tool (for showing pupils notation, lyrics etc.). You are encouraged to use this feature, subject to the clauses of the Code of Conduct above. 

Updated: March 2020