Recovery Curriculum 2020/21
Padbury Church of England School has put the children’s well-being at the centre of our thinking. While feedback from parents and outcomes seen from children has been positive throughout the school closure period, we acknowledge that the children will have had different experiences during this time. However, the common thread running through all is the loss of routine, structure, friendship, opportunity and freedom. These losses can trigger anxiety in any child. Some of you may have experienced this with your own children. We know that an anxious child is not in a place to learn effectively. With this in mind, the school community has thought about the most effective way to support your child’s ability to learn. This approach will encompass and support the academic expectations for your child.
Our approach will be based on the research of Professor Barry Carpenter, who has developed the Recovery Curriculum, as a response to the losses described above. It is a way for schools to help children come back into school life, acknowledging the experiences the children have had. We want children to be happy, feel safe and able to be engaged in their learning. A way to achieve this for the children is to acknowledge the importance of helping them lever back into school life using the following 5 Levers:
Lever 1: Relationships - we can’t expect our students to return joyfully, and many of the relationships that were thriving, may need to be invested in and restored. We need to plan for this to happen, not assume that it will. We will reach out to greet them, use the relationships we build to cushion the discomfort of returning.
Lever 2: Community - we must recognise that curriculum will have been based in the community for a long period of time. We need to listen to what has happened in this time, understand the needs of our community and engage them in the transitioning of learning back into school.
Lever 3: Transparent Curriculum - all of our students will feel like they have lost time in learning and we must show them how we are addressing these gaps, consulting and co-constructing with our students to heal this sense of loss.
Lever 4: Metacognition - in different environments, students will have been learning in different ways. It is vital that we make the skills for learning in a school environment explicit to our students to reskill and rebuild their confidence as learners.
Lever 5: Space - to be, to rediscover self, and to find their voice on learning in this issue. It is only natural that we all work at an incredible pace to make sure this group of learners are not disadvantaged against their peers, providing opportunity and exploration alongside the intensity of our expectations
At Padbury, we have taken these principles and incorporated them into four areas using the acronym CASE to guide the curriculum to support pupils.
Creativity: To support pupils mental well-being the curriculum will focus on learning that promotes self-expression. There will be a focus on artistic and craft-based learning that will support pupils fine motor skills and concentration. The intention being that pupils who have been traumatised through this pandemic can undertake creative learning to encourage communication with work matched to pupil’s needs. Working in smaller, socially distanced groups where this is judged as needed, will support pupils to reengage with their friends and allow them to talk and communicate with each other whilst focussing on tasks.
Activity: Children will have spent a large proportion of their time in their homes due to the COVID-19 outbreak so there could be a major challenge to stay physically active. Inactive behaviour and low levels of physical activity can have negative effects on quality of life, health and wellbeing of pupils. Therefore, the curriculum has been designed to promote physical activity outside within the framework of social distancing. A proportion of each school day will be spent on activities that encourage play and sport. In addition, wherever possible, learning opportunities will be found outside of the classroom.
Standards: Pupil’s learning at school ended abruptly at the beginning of the pandemic and while many pupils have successfully managed home learning, there will be gaps in knowledge and skills that will need to be supported and addressed. Teachers have reviewed the curriculum in each subject area and have planned for opportunities for where these gaps in skills and knowledge may be addressed in the future based on the progression within the curriculum plan. The Autumn term 2020 will be a time for teachers to establish where and what those gaps are, without making assumptions. We are aware some children will have gone above and beyond in some areas of the curriculum while others may not have maintained the standards they were working at before they left school and worked from home. Teachers have reviewed the objectives not taught face to face and have considered the priority objectives for the coming year in each year group for English and Maths. See below for details.
Emotional well-being: Pupils will need support to speak about their experiences with specific focus on trauma informed approaches (Carpenter 2020). There will be emphasis on drama and speaking and listening approaches in order to support pupil’s well-being. The use of circle-time based activities, through PSHE and the continued use of the contemplative toolkit will develop pupil’s spiritual development. There is a distinct difference between the pastoral care that will be essential when the school community comes back together working alongside the PSHE curriculum. See below for how these approaches will be managed.
Professor Barry Carpenter, CBE is Professor of Mental Health in Education at Oxford Brookes University.
Approaches to Community and Space (Delivered through PSHE)
A Recovery curriculum linked to pastoral care and PSHE needs to focus on rebuilding relationships, to re-engage the disengaged as pupils have experienced loss where their routine, structure, freedom, friendships and opportunities have been affected.
In the classroom, we need to regenerate the learning pathways, focus and concentration as well as the flow of learning. This may be through re-designing lessons to include mini breaks for movement, mindfulness or time to talk to refocus the class.
The consequences of loss can lead to a child being developing anxiety, attachment difficulties, bereavement and trauma. This causes a child to act out through tantrums, mood swings, clingier, sleep deprivation, angry their world has been turned upside down or regression to younger habits e.g. bed wetting, thumb sucking.
PSHE Vs Pastoral Care
Pastoral care works alongside the PSHE curriculum as it is reactive to the personal and emotional needs of the child. It also supports the school in creating a safe, healthy environment and strategies for behaviour management.
Pastoral care reacts to pupils who:
- Have increased need/vulnerability
- Delivers immediate, timely interventions
- 1:1 support for specific needs
- Personal approach, bespoke to the needs of the child
- Building relationships/ re-establishing trust
Pupils who need pastoral care may be having difficulties with mental health, family relationships, bereavement and readjusting from working from home.
PSHE is preventative education which is delivered as a lesson using a distanced approach. PSHE is:
- Carefully planned lessons following the school’s scheme of work
- Develops knowledge, skills and attributes
- Rebuilds promoting of self-esteem and resilience
Returning to school- Immediate Responses
Staff will need to rebuild the relationship and trust between pupils:
- Clear communication and transparency of the new health and safety and school behaviour systems need to be taught immediately
- Build feelings of positivity, safety and community, show the children it is safe to back at school and routines/rules are consistently followed
- Labelling emotions and link them to their emotions
- Quiet spaces and small walks to help with anxiety
- Triage disclosures and increase school support services delivered by staff
- Highlight support services available
- Adjust our expectations
- Uplifting assemblies focusing on positive messages and hope for the future
- Baseline assessments to identify knowledge gaps
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Transition into Padbury CE School
At Padbury, we are aware of the impact the lack of face to face transition support will have had on our youngest children starting school. To support these children, a range of strategies have been employed.
In the summer term a remote meeting for parents was held, a story was read for the children via Zoom to meet the class teacher and a questionnaire for parents to complete was sent out to ascertain where the children are in their developmental stages. The class teacher also met face to face with pre-school staff to discuss the children, their needs, and their levels of development.
Children were given ‘chatterboxes’ to fill during the summer, with items or photographs that are important to them. This will help to enable children to begin to share a little about themselves and to get to know others in the group and also encourage communication.
Parents were given the choice as to whether to send their children into school from September 2020 on a morning only basis, a set number of days each week or a full-time basis for the first few weeks of the autumn term. The uptake was largely for full time provision, but each family had a choice as to what would be best for their child.
Through continuous provision children will have opportunities for child-initiated investigation and play. This is likely to be for a longer period of time than usual, ensuring that children are settled and ready before building up to more formalised learning. This is important because not only have children not had the transition sessions that they would usually have, but many have also been unable to attend their nursery’s or spend time socialising with other adults and children in recent months.
Within the provision for Early Years, the environment will be organised as would be expected in an Early Years setting, with opportunities for child-initiated play, interaction with others and activities which will meet all the requirements of the CASE curriculum as well as the EYFS framework. Children in this setting will not be expected to social distance but will follow the hygiene requirements as set out in the risk assessments throughout the day.