Online Learing at Greystones Primary School
Our school is publishing all of its online learing on the Office 365 platform which is accessed via the Greystones Primary School Parent Portal. The link button is at the top of every web page on this website.
You need your child's unique log in username and password to access the platform. The Parent Portal is the go-to place for all information which we can't share with the wider public about your child's education, plans for trips, homework, year group newsletters etc. The year group webpage information is maintained by our teaching staff in each year group. Their contact details are shown on the webpages for their particular year group.
Where possible work done for online learning should be submitted using the uploader app available on each year group homepage. Please follow the instructions given by the staff.
Children should be able to access learning materials without having to print them out. School can provide exercise book(s) for children to use during periods of online learning during lockdown - please collect one from the main entrance foyer / Welcome Desk, respecting social distancing measures whilst in the public area of the school main entrance.
Help with getting online:
Parents who do not have fixed line broadband access at home, who cannot afford additional data for their 4G / 5G devices and are experiencing disruption to their chidlren's face-to-face education may qualify for help with increasing data allowances on the mobile network, courtesy of HM Government. Please see this letter and the instructions held within it.
Tips on Accessing Online Learning via our Office365 Parent Portal:
Each child's unique username and password will only access the area on Office365 which is appropriate for their age / level of education. This means that families with children of more than one age have to sign in using different usernames for each child to access their appropriate age-based materials. The school does not issue access to all areas as some materials for older children may be classed as inappropriate for younger children.
If you struggle to switch between different children log-ins, please consider the use of different internet browser programs which roughly all do the same:
Safari (Apple products)
Each individual browser could be set up with one child’s log in details, and then all you would have to do is flick between browsers and the computer could remain logged in at all times. It is the parents' responsibility to oversee thier children's access of the relevant browser program.
If you are struggling to sign in to the Office365 system and messages pop up saying username not recognised please check the detailed information shown on the error message at the time. Children Usernames can only have the format of ####.email@example.com where #### is the cohort number for their particular year group. These details are issued to all parents and reminders of this can be requested by contacting the school office on the general firstname.lastname@example.org email address. The child's password is fixed and CANNOT be changed or reset via the reset facility. It is a specific format which must be input correctly for it to work. If you can't remember your child's password, then contact the school office as above for a reminder.
If your browser tries to use an incorrect username automatically it may be that your browser is set up to automatically sign into websites using an alternative microsoft account. If this is the case then we suggest you research your browser's incognito or private browsing facility. Check your browser help function for this, or 'google' incognito browsing for guidance on how to alter the way you access the internet. By using the private or incognito browsing function you stop your browser from automatically signing in using saved usernames and passwords which may help you access the online platform more easily.
We published a document with some of the above tips and more in March 2020 when the first lockdown happened. This document is still available here.
Please note that the email address on the March 2020 document for help is no longer available. Please contact the email@example.com for all help and guidance relating to online learning access.
Understanding the quirks of internet data flow, speed of connections and why sometimes things don't load up on screen:
All internet connections rely on a steady flow of data backwards and forwards between you and the website server (host computer) location, which may be located anywhere globally.
The speed rate of your internet connection is affected by a number of factors:
1) Inside your home, it is determined how many devices are connected to your wifi or wired set-up. The more devices connected and working, the more demand for the 'bandwidth' that comes into your home. Each device requires a certain amount of data at anyone time; the more devices you have connected and actively operating will increase the competition for the dataflow within the bandwidth, and therefore slow down response times on your internet browsing, or cause videos to buffer rather than stream smoothly. Devices which are operating permanently on your wifi eat into the bandwidth available for browsing, etc. These devices can include:
Internet TV / TV Boxes, Digital Radios, Mobile Phones, Tablets, Computers, Laptops, Video-link Doorbells (such as Ring), Heating Controls (such as Hive or Nest type devices), Smart Watches, Smart Meters, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, etc.
2) Outside of your home, your fixed line internet connection is one of many connections that arrive at local homes from the local BT Openreach distribution box or Cable Service box. The bandwidth that goes to the distribution box is then shared between the premises and houses it serves, and when all the houses it serves are all trying to stream things at the same time, there may be a slowing up of internet connections in the locality or neighbourhood.
The speed of the internet connection serving the location of the website servers pretty much operates in the same way. The local area where the data is coming from can be restricted in the same way as your connection is restricted, and so on. That's why when you're trying to browse a sale on a shopping website, or trying to buy tickets for a show using an online service, occasionally the servers go down; there's too much 'traffic' for the servers to cope with, and the dataflow from the site server to your individual device fails.
All of this can be enormously frustrating, and sadly there are occasions when there is absolutely nothing that can be done until the demand subsides and things start to get going again.
If you are trying to connect to our school online learning at really busy times, then sometimes these dataflow problems may occur. It's not any one particular person or organisation's fault; it's a quirk of how data flows on the internet. In these cases we suggest you have patience; try a couple of times; and if things aren't loading then await until a quieter part of the day to access the materials.
If you do find that materials are accessible at 6:30am but not at 10:00am, for example, school's files on Office365 are generally downloadable. With a little bit of timely preparation some of the data flow issues can be overcome. Right click on the ellipse (three dots at the end of the file name) and save the file to your device so that it is stored in the device local memory, and then view the file, video or document from there.
If you can't connect to a Micrososft Teams meeting for a child's group or class, then again this can be subject to all that we've said above. Sometimes it fails because of not enough data getting through. Don't panic, we understand the quirks, and we try to do our best to spread the scheduling of meetings to try and reduce the demands on internet connections internally and externally.
We also suggest that at home, sometimes its easier to reduce the number of devices connected to the wifi to help things flow better. Consider disconnecting non-essential devices (eg physically unplugging from power or switching them into airplane mode) to improve the dataflow in the home environment; even if only on a temporary basis!
Oh and 4G and 5G work pretty much the same! Your mobile phone when operating on 4G or 5G is very similar to when it's working on the wifi at home. The radio mast that the phone is connecting to is literally an oversized wifi internet router, and the number of devices connected to it can determine how fast the dataflow is happening on your device. Have you ever been to a football match, or a pop concert when you've tried to make a phonecall or send a text message and it's failed because it can't get a signal? It's exactly the same problem; dataflow and demand.