Best Practice Update

Protocol for Setting Up and Delivery of Online Teaching and Learning

These protocols aim to ensure that online lessons with pupils when working from home, are safe, secure and continue to provide high-quality education using a virtual platform. 

This is guidance for setting up and managing online lessons using the school’s chosen platform ie  Zoom; Google or Microsoft teams.

DfE guidance is also available from:  Get help with remote education - GOV.UK (

Always ensure that your Acceptable Use Policy is followed by staff and pupils and any other relevant policy. If personal devices are being users by staff, then make sure that your Bring You Own Device policy is followed.

Refer to the AUP and BYOD, as well as the Work at Home best practice areas.

Setting up software for online teaching

Supplier checks and commitments to GDPR should be checked prior, for example, due diligence completed, Privacy Notice etc checked prior to installing and using any new software. Your IT providers should be liaised with for advice and guidance and your DPO consulted as needed. A risk assessment and record of processing should also be completed; testing of the application completed internally before rolling out to a wider audience and email (accuracy) checks of recipients completed before emails are sent to parents. It is also crucial that you communicate with parents as to the systems you are using and data security arrangements in place. 

Principles of online teaching 

  • Pupils must adhere to the school’s Behaviour Policy and understand there will be sanctions for non-compliance
  • Staff must adhere to the professional code of conduct and work away from school policy
  • Staff will have completed work away from school training
  • Staff and pupils must wear  professional attire, use appropriate language etc and treat an online virtual classroom just as they would at school in realtime
  • Staff and pupils must ensure their camera is set at eye level 
  • It is recommended that you stay muted unless you're talking to reduce background noise
  • Make sure you sit in a well-lit room
  • Make sure you choose an appropriate room when delivering online learning ie not a bedroom
  • Be mindful of what's going on behind you and around you and the area is appropriate for learning. Think about having a solid wall behind you, not a mirror or turn on a virtual background
  • For the teacher in charge of the lesson, be aware of what is on the walls of the room in which you hold the online lesson
  • No  pictures of the  virtual class will be posted on social media or elsewhere online

Preparing for online sessions

  • Meeting/teaching sessions will be as participants set up via school accounts
  • The  meetings will be scheduled with the description/lesson and year group
  • The link will be securely shared  in advance of the online teaching session
  •  The school  will prepare in advance to allow participants time to enter the session/lesson
  • All applications other than teaching applications will be closed before starting the session/lesson

Securing and controlling the online teaching session

  • The teacher in charge of the online lesson will screen all students before allowing entry to the virtual lesson. If a name/device is not recognised the pupil will not be allowed entry.
  • A virtual waiting room will be used to ensure that only intended participants can enter the online lesson. The waiting room feature will be used to protect our virtual classroom and keep out those who aren’t supposed to be there.
  • Pupils access will be controlled one by one to the virtual classroom. 
  • The teacher in charge of the online lesson will ‘lock the meeting’  once it has begun, therefore no one else will be able enter.
  • Teachers will have control over the screen sharing facility.
  • The chat facility will be controlled by the teacher.
  • The school will use a random meeting ID. It’s best practice to generate a random meeting ID for each session, so it can’t be shared multiple times.
  • Passwords and ID will be used so only those intended to join can access a virtual classroom. 
  • Disable the ‘join before host’ facility will be activated so that pupils cannot join the class before the teacher joins.
  • Teachers will disable participant annotation in the screen sharing controls to prevent pupils from annotating on a shared screen and disrupting class activities.
  • The class teacher will always exit the live meeting for all at the end of the online teaching session.  

 Additionally, teachers have other in-meeting options to control the virtual classroom:

  • Disable video: Turn off a student’s video to block distracting content or inappropriate gestures while class is in session 
  • Mute pupils: Mute/unmute individual pupils or all of them at once. We will also be setting up all meetings with the Mute Upon Entry facility in place
  • Attendee on-hold: An alternative to removing a user, you can momentarily disable their audio/video connections. 
  • Recording meetings:  Pupils will be reminded NOT to share personal information during the session. Any recordings will be saved in a secure location in line with the GDPR and only retained for as long as needed. We will delete the original recording from the device used. 
  • Setting up the online lesson: The teacher in charge of the online lesson will spend some time at the beginning checking that pupils understand and have audio and video facilities set up appropriately
  • Online etiquette: Teachers will discuss online etiquette and expectations of the pupils in their first virtual lesson.