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Recovery Curriculum (COVID Response)

5 levers
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As we prepare to welcome back all of our pupils to Great Sankey Primary in September, there will understandably be concerns around the learning which the children have missed since the country was put into lockdown in March. There will also be worries and anxieties around the impact on pupils from an emotional wellbeing point of view as well. With these in mind, we hope to share with you the approaches we will be taking on how we will endeavour to re-engage your child with learning in school as well as supporting their wellbeing.

There is something so momentous about the lockdown that it cannot just be ignored. Everyone will have a story to tell and many will want to share theirs. Of course, not everyone will want to share their experiences, and that should be respected. However, it should be an expectation for all that we listen to those who choose to recount their experiences. There can be a tendency only to focus on the negative arising from this pandemic, but there are plenty of accounts of pupils rising to the challenge, not just of doing work set by teachers on the Google Classroom, but also of looking out for others and demonstrating kindness during lockdown. These positive experiences should be shared and celebrated as a school community. However, we are also mindful that children do not need constant reference to the pandemic and just want to return to normality and just need teachers to get on with the heart of the job: teaching and learning.

By investing some time at the start of staff and pupils’ return – through storytelling, speaking and being heard, and wrapping things up as a collective – we acknowledge what has happened, and can draw out the most positive aspect of all: that it is good to be back together and to get back to a sense of normality that school life offers.

Staff at Great Sankey Primary are already considering how to best address children's gaps in learning and are carefully planning our recovery roadmap for September. In doing this, we are considering current research from the EEF and mental health expert Professor Barry Carpenter’s think piece, ‘A Recovery Curriculum: Loss and life for our children and schools post pandemic.’ In this piece, he recommends five levers that can help recovery using a relationships-based approach to support with reigniting the flame of learning in our children.

Lever 1: Relationships

Relationships are key to all successful experiences and we cannot just assume that we can pick up where we left off in March. Time will be built into the first two weeks to re-establish expectations, routines and relationships: relationships between pupils, and between pupils and staff through our usual whole school theme of ‘Together We Learn and Grow’. Our wider curriculum timetable has also been redesigned to incorporate more quality personal and social sessions which will also help to support. Carefully designed activities and lessons will be planned by staff to aid the rebuilding of these relationships.

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Lever 2: Community

For the majority of our children, September will be the first time that they have stepped foot in the school building since March. As staff, we need to acknowledge the momentous event that has happened within our community and initially take time to talk and understand the effects it may have had on some of our children – both positive and negative. As children transition back to school, it is key that we re-establish rules, boundaries, values and regain a sense of normality through familiar routines whilst remaining sensitive to the effects the pandemic may have had on some pupils. Learning at home is vastly different from learning in a classroom of 30 children and we must re-engage the children with their learning and recognise that some children will need work on increasing levels of independence, stamina and perseverance. We recognise that what children need most after a time of significant disruption to their lives is normality and being back in our school community will offer this.

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Lever 3: Transparent Curriculum

As a school, we have already planned and designed a timetable and a curriculum for 2020-21 which allows for pupils to build on the knowledge and skills that are already established in order for them to continue to make progress. Greater opportunities for pupils to bridge any gaps that there may be alongside time for wellbeing and personal development are available. At GSP, chances for regular retrieval of prior knowledge are embedded in our curriculum and this will continue. Low stakes quizzes and tasks will be set to establish any gaps in a child’s knowledge of a subject.

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Lever 4: Metacognition

As educators, we always acknowledge the different learning styles of our pupils and this will not change as we move into the new academic year. We recognise the need to build in opportunities for solving problems, self-evaluation and analysis as well as to encourage tasks which allow pupils to explore aspects of personal development such as resilience, independence and self-motivation.

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Lever 5: Space – to be, to rediscover self and to find their voice on learning

At Great Sankey Primary, we always say that if children feel safe and feel happy, then they will learn. School has always been a safe place for our children but there may be some anxieties around this as they return in September, therefore it is our role to allay these fears, to lift spirits and ensure that security and joy in learning are re-established. Pupils will seek comfort in that familiar sense of routine that they find in school, and that they have so missed during the partial school closures. We owe it to them to provide this while providing more targeted support to those in specific need of it. Through re-building strong relationships as well as through a carefully designed rich curriculum which considers aspects of personal development as well as academic development, children will respond positively to the normality that school life offers.

We want to minimise any learning disadvantages our pupils may be at due to the pandemic and will seek further guidance using relevant and current research from the EEF:

https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/covid-19-resources/best-evidence-on-impact-of-school-closures-on-the-attainment-gap/

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Continued Curriculum Online Offer

On our return in September, all new classes will be set up with Google Classroom once again. Staff will continue to use this as resource and signpost children and staff to this to share homework, spellings, wider learning projects etc. The guidance issued by the DfE is clear in its expectations that pupils who have to self-isolate should be able to switch to remote learning immediately.  Any remote learning offered because a pupil is self-isolating or due to a further period of local or national lockdown should be of “high quality” and should “align as closely as possible with in-school provision”. Therefore, our online offer will be maintained from September should the need arise.

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