Preparing for the 2020 – 2021 school year

With the state of the Covid-19 pandemic uncertain, it is hard to plan for the 2020 – 2021 school year. The 2019 – 2020 school year has been significantly disrupted by the novel coronavirus. Schools and children have adapted amazingly and we’re proud to have been able to help support learning through such a difficult time. Educators have rapidly become experts at distance learning but the challenge next year will be to provide continuity and rapid progress without the certainty of normal school operation.

We provide a suite of tools that can be used to support student’s learning in skills. This post should serve as a guide schools on how our tools can be used under different return-to-school scenarios.


There are three possible scenarios for the 2020 – 2021 school year:

Remote Teaching

If schools are physically are closed when the new school year starts teaching might have to be done remotely. This will include a combination of remote instruction and independent study.

The challenges with remote teaching are:

  • Engaging less motivated students
  • Supporting students who are struggling academically
  • It is harder and more time-consuming to assess students
  • Basic skills are critical for student success

Blended Approach

When school campuses start to open, it may be necessary to stagger student attendance to allow social distancing while in school. This will mean there is reduced direct instructional time but an increased level of home learning

The challenges with a blended approach are:

  • Using time in school most usefully
  • Monitoring home learning to prevent a divide between more and less motivated students
  • Combining assessment data from one setting to advise the other

Normal Schooling

This is what would happen during a normal school year. There are fewer challenges compared to remote teaching or home learning but underlying skills and student engagement are both still hugely important.

Spelling Shed

Spelling Shed is a system that includes curriculum content, online learning tools and instructional materials. Educators can choose to follow our sequence of pre-made lists or create their own custom word-lists. Children love playing our game and in particular it supports their early success to enable them to gain confidence and continue to get practice where they would often otherwise give up. Another element of Spelling Shed that children love is the competition where they can compete within their class and school as well as trying to get their class into our world league.

  • Develops basic English Language skills to support reading and writing.
  • Motivates students with a fun & competitive game.
  • Our curriculum systematically introduces all spelling rules required nationally.
  • Includes weekly instructional material with linked spelling & vocabulary word lists.
  • Printable activities included for students with less access to tech
  • Vocabulary supports students’ reading, especially those who do not have English as their first language.
  • Use remote hive games as a fun, group activity but also as a weekly, self-marking spelling test.


  • Helps students to practice and develop number skills.
  • Skills support a huge amount of other math areas – multiplication table knowledge supports fractions, short-division, finding area etc.
  • Engages students with a fun, competitive game.
  • Gives detailed reporting to teachers of student activity and attainment.
  • Assignments can be targeted as required to link with main math teaching.


Assignments are the main tool in our system to connect a learner with a piece of content or specific task. Wherever a student is, they will see their assignments when they sign in to our game so whether they are using a school device or at home, educators can direct learning. Assignments also give additional reporting and tracking to give oversight of who is taking part as well as how successful they have been.

Hive Games

Hive games are our live multi-player mode. With a hive game, everyone plays at the same time with the same questions. After each question a leaderboard shows who has scored the most points and encourages a healthy degree of competition. Hive games can be created and run by a teacher in the classroom which would look very much like a spelling test – our reporting tools then marks that test for you automatically. Hive games work from anywhere though so even with fully remote schooling, the normal weekly routine and rigour can run in exactly the same way as normal schooling. Children can also create their own hive games any this supports social play in any context.


Our products help students develop core skills that are vital for reading, writing and mathematics. We provide offline printable resources and tools to support distance learning as well as learning within a classroom.

To start a free trial head over to now and register an account.