At Whinmoor St Paul’s C of E Primary School we believe that every child is a unique child of God and as such we have put the child’s well-being at the centre of our thinking. We acknowledge that our 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. We know that an anxious child is not in a place to learn effectively. So 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.
Professor Barry Carpenter 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 our children to be happy, feel safe and able to be engaged in their learning. We have decided that a way to achieve this for our children is to acknowledge the importance of helping them lever back into school life using the following 5 Levers.
Schools can use these 5 Levers to help children reconnect into being an effective learner.
This will encompass the main curriculum upon our return. For most pupils, this will be sufficient to meet the aims set out above, although their journeys will happen over different time frames. From the activities planned, staff will be able to identify those who need more support in their recovery which will lead to a personalised response.
Where pupils are unable to engage in the holistic curriculum, further work will be undertaken by school staff such as the Pastoral Lead and SENDCo to enable them to meet the above aims.
For pupils who have experienced severe trauma or bereavement, specialist support may be required in their recovery.
We will create time to share our experiences of lockdown. Some pupils will be more open to share, whereas for others it will take some time or require anonymity. We will create space within our day to allow for these conversations. It is important to note that although lockdown has caused losses, it will have been a positive experience for some, allowing for more quality family time and child led learning. We will encourage discussions around learning, play, relationships and more. This can be facilitated through circle time, 1-1 conversations, increased free-time, social stories and worry boxes.
Some children will have felt a level of abandonment from school staff, through no fault of the school. It will take time to build up their trust and restore relationships. Staff will continue to nature and support through positive words and role modelling the school values. Within the day there will be plenty of opportunity to talk and play together, allowing time for 1-1 conversations. Staffing will be kept as consistent as possible.
Taking into consideration the safety procedures put into place, pupils will be given plenty of free-time or play-time in which they can re-establish their friendships. Daily circle time will allow for thoughtful discussion surrounding the value of friendship. Shared activities, like daily exercise will bring the pupils back together into teams.
The process of returning to a ‘normal timetable’ will be a phased one. At the beginning, there will be more free-time and child-led learning. There will be elements of the timetable that will be constant each day, like exercise, mindfulness and circle time. Parts of the school day that pupils will be expecting, like English and Maths, will be included in short bursts. The timetable will be re-evaluated on a regular basis to ensure that all pupils within the group are coping with the transition back to school.
Pupils will have the opportunity to take part in whole-school projects that promote togetherness. Work produced during lockdown will be collated and displayed in school. Through talk, groups will gain understanding of their peers and support each other.
PSHE lessons and circle time will focus on Mental Health and Well-being. The Golden Rules will be re-established with the pupils, emphasising the school values that run alongside them. Pupils will be given space to explore their feelings and seek out help to manage them. School needs to be a safe and happy place before learning can begin.
Once the children feel safe and happy, they can begin to engage with their learning again. To help transition, focussed learning will be kept to short bursts. Well-being activities, mindfulness activities and child-led projects and story based learning will aim to re-engage the pupils with their learning.
Transition back to school will be aided through a transition piece of work and communication from staff. Pupils will be given time to adjust to their new routines, spaces and adults.