Our Curriculum statement for 20/21 was written in March 2020, before the global pandemic which started on March 20th 2020. Although it is very much focused on Well Being, Metacognition, collaboration, Resilience and being goal orientated, it does not deal with some of the unique issues that need to be addressed in the light of the global pandemic. We also felt it would be best to be very clear about how we have in the past few months, are doing now and will continue to respond to the situation of COVID-19. We have created a process called the 5R’s of Response to help explained how we have worked through lockdown and beyond to respond to the needs of our community.
In a think tank piece called Loss and Recovery from Oxford Brookes, Carpenter and Carpenter (2020) suggested the Recovery Curriculum is what schools should be planning to support children in the loss and mental health struggles they will have experienced because of the global pandemic of COVID-19. They identifies 5 losses, which they believe will cause a rapid erosion of the mental health state of our children. They considered these losses to be:
Lever 1: Relationships - we cannot 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. 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. 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.
Loss and Recovery Think Piece 1 – Oxford Brooks
In a practical day to day curriculum these translate to the loss of:
- Friendship and social interaction
We believe that for any child returning to school, these losses need to be acknowledged and the feelings and emotions they have created talked about. Children need to know its ok to feel how they do, or not to feel anything at all. In short if we do not deal with children’s mental health as a result of these losses we feel we would be doing our children a dis-service. It is important that wellbeing forms the foundation of any approach to reopening schools, as on this firm foundation, future learning will stand.
The 6R’s of Response
Over the period of partial closure, partial opening and full opening of our school (planned for September 2020) we have slowly developed a structure in which to deal with this crisis. This toolkit is broken down into 6 stages:
The toolkit is split into six stages to enable us to be clear about what we are doing.
- Re-act to the situation – Communication plan, Identifying the guiding principle for your school, organisational issues (routines, staffing, finance etc), Safety and safeguarding, learning, home learning and blended learning, pastoral support, staying connected and Well Being plans. This is also a time for looking at community links and other issues family have – housing, finances, shopping etc
- Reset for safety – including looking at routine and structure (During partial re-opening) Staff rotas, opening times and closing times, playtimes, lunchtimes, breaks for staff, PPA etc
- Recover for Well Being - including Friendship and social interactions (the bridge between partial re-opening and full re-opening). Covering all stakeholders. Looking at personal development, as well as social, emotional, health and spiritual and moral development for all.
- Rebuild for learning – including opportunity and freedom (in preparation for re-opening and beyond). Considering the issues of re-opening, catch up, curriculum etc
- Reflect and review for the future – Reflection will happen throughout all stages, but this stages acts as a timely buffer to ensure some of those lessons learnt are recorded and the schools guiding principles are revisited. At the end of each stage, or after moving to the next the SMT need to review where they have been, where they are and where they are going to ensure this sits along the guiding principles. inc revisiting the long term cultures of the school, its vision and aims
- Revisit – This may happen at anytime and at any stage. Each time a stage is revisited it is important schools reflect on the lessons learnt from last time.
We wanted to be prepared and ready for any changes that may occur. The idea of the toolkit was to reduce stress and tension and to act as a guide to help senior leads understand the process and find their way through it. It serves as a reminder of what
Bolsover Infant and Nursery School
Throughout our journey was have tried to help everyone stay positive. We have tried our best to create connections and positive points in time for both children and families. We have called this ‘RASING HOPE’. Under the banner of raising hope we value communication, connection and compassion for others.