Teacher’s live YouTube lessons from school keep pupils ‘upbeat’

Matt Vale-Smith, assistant headteacher at Long Melford Primary School, is filming daily lessons live

Matt Vale-Smith, assistant headteacher at Long Melford Primary School, is filming daily lessons live from his classroom. Picture: LONG MELFORD PRIMARY SCHOOL - Credit: Archant

A Suffolk teacher has created live YouTube lessons from his school in a bidto ease pressures on parents homeschooling their children.

Matt Vale-Smith. assistant headteacher at Long Melford Primary School, near Sudbury, began his quest to help pupils and their parents after realising how difficult it has been to educate youngsters at home.

Teaching maths and English lessons, Mr Vale-Smith is still attending the school to teach the children of keyworkers - while his wife also works on the frontline for the NHS.

He said: “It’s a strange but busy time in my household as we are both key workers - my wife works full time at West Suffolk Hospital as an advanced nurse practitioner on the frontline.

“I admit this has been a concern for us with a young family, as it is with so many families at the moment. However, we are lucky that we are able to go to work and feel that we can give something back to the community.”

It was Mr Vale-Smith’s wife who came up with the idea of virtual teaching through YouTube, so children could have a ‘real-time’ feeling from lessons which are fun and accessible to everyone.

Realising the need to communicate directly with his pupils was necessary for their development, he has been producing daily videos for them to enable regular contact and to inspire them to keep up morale.

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“I miss all the children greatly and I especially miss school life,” he said. “As a teacher, you become very close to the children and want the best for them. This is the reason for starting my YouTube channel.”

Initially in self isolation for two weeks, Mr Vale-Smith at first relied on his children, aged eight and 10, to be his film crew. Now they are being recorded live from his classroom.

The sessions also include strategies, tips and techniques to help parents and children.

Even though he began with maths and English lessons, Mr Vale-Smith hopes to expand into art lessons too.

“I hope through the videos I can motivate children and keep them upbeat,” he said.

“I could see with my own children that they were more comfortable with a lesson structure as this is what they were used to.

“The need to connect with the school community and to consolidate previous learning - but to also continue teaching, was my inspiration.”

To access the YouTube lessons, click here.For regular updates on the coronavirus, click here.