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Federation of Boldmere Schools
The curriculum that we will be delivering in September to support our children following school closure.
The Covid-19 pandemic will have affected and impacted on us all and for some of us this will be life changing. As a federation we recognise that our children and families will have very individual and diverse lived experiences. This is at the forefront of how we are planning our recovery curriculum.
From experiences with our key worker children throughout lock down, and more recently our nursery, reception and year 6 children, we have seen the incredible resilience of our children and families and children’s ability to adapt and change. They have brought a joy with them into school, and the school is slowly getting back it’s laughter in the corridors and the noise of children learning. Throughout this unknown time we have learnt the importance of not planting worries in our children’s minds and to only address them when or if they arise.
However, we know that for some of our children, they will be bringing with them experiences of loss, anxiety, change and in some cases the fear of the unknown.
As we plan for a return of all children in September, we need you to be aware that these are plans that may be subject to change, as they hinge on Government guidelines, and the operational capacity of school. The basis of our recovery curriculum however, will not be as uncertain. We are planning for the wellbeing of all pupils. Providing support to transition all pupils back into our schools and their new classes is our priority.
Therefore, at the heart of our approach will be the children’s wellbeing. We know that each child will return to us at a different place and not where they left us in March.
RECOVERY CURRICULUM LINKED TO
CARPENTER AND CARPENTER’S RECOVERY CURRICULUM’S LOSSES AND LEVERS (2020)
“The common thread that runs through the current lived experiences of our children, is loss. From loss emanates three significant dynamics that will impact majorly on the mental health of our children. Anxiety, trauma and bereavement are powerful forces. For them all to appear at once in an untimely and unplanned fashion is significant for the developing child. Our children are vulnerable at this time, and their mental-health fragile. And on top of that, they are witnessing a sea of adult anxiety, which they unwittingly are absorbing.” (Carpenter and Carpenter, 2020).
We have already begun to, and will continue to develop a recovery curriculum to help our children make sense of their lived experiences and to make the transition back to being efficient and effective learners within school.
Barry Carpenter, CBE, Professor of Mental Health in Education, suggests that a recovery curriculum for the COVID 19 pandemic, should be underpinned by the notion of loss. Here he outlines the 5 key losses which he feels may have impacted children during the Covid 19 pandemic.
Carpenter and Carpenter identified 5 losses:
- The loss of friendship and social interaction.
- The loss of routine.
- The loss of structure.
- The loss of opportunity.
- The loss of freedom.
To ensure that the children’s wellbeing underpins our recovery curriculum;
- We have a wellbeing area on the school website under the ‘Home Learning Tab’ which signposts parents to external agencies and additional support.
- We have an established wellbeing team and wellbeing leads in each school (who are linked across the Infant and Junior schools).
- We have a transition tab on the school website where transition resources will be available for children and families from the 8th July (specific for each year group and class).
- Our daily class time tables will be consciously adapted to create more space for transition activities, reflection of children’s lived experiences and opportunities for mindfulness and social interaction.
“It is vitally important that, at this time, we restore the mental health of our children so that, over time, they can become successful, confident, articulate learners once again. “ Barry Carpenter
We have ensured daily wellbeing sessions have been timetabled so that we can focus on and develop the 5 areas below based on Barry Carpenter’s 5 Levers.
Lever 1: Relationships – Supporting pupils to rebuild relationships and re learn how to interact and build relationships with others including; sharing, turn taking, greeting and interact with others positively. This will be achieved through plenty of positive social interaction for example; team games, games and activities which require turn taking and sharing.
Lever 2: Community – We recognise that your child’s learning has been based at home for a long time. We will listen to what has happened in this time.
Lever 3: Transparent Curriculum – Staff teams that know pupils well will plan their reintegration, taking into account child and family views and what is important to each individual.
Lever 4: Metacognition – The Recovery Curriculum has been specifically designed to focus on and support the development of key learning skills that are likely to have been impacted in recent months, e.g. listening and attention skills and social communication and interaction. The Recovery Curriculum will be key to developing students’ confidence, self-esteem and resilience.
Lever 5: Space – Creating space to allow for creative elements of the curriculum such as creative arts and sport.
Teaching and Learning
You can engage that child as a learner once more, for engagement is the liberation of intrinsic motivation, (Carpenter et al, 2015).
Alongside the focus on wellbeing and transition, Curriculum Leaders and teachers, will be looking at the academic recovery of the curriculum, making the decisions needed to provide a curriculum that is adaptable and responsive to the diverse needs of individual learners within our school community. The teachers will know intrinsically, what is best for the children in their class. Observations, conversations with children will support teacher judgements.
We are very aware that every child has a different lived experience but also a different academic journey over the last few months and therefore we will have a wide range of starting points.
We are currently planning to deliver the curriculum for the children’s new year group in September. We have ‘progression maps’ which have been shared by previous teachers, which will show the gaps in whole class coverage where skills may not have been taught in the summer term. We will also be carrying out baseline assessments in the core subjects; maths, reading and writing. Lessons will provide teaching and learning pitched at the current year group however, where appropriate, we will track back to skills from previous year groups to enable teachers to close gaps. It is clear from research that reading is one of the key determiners of academic success and more recently has been shown as an area which will be key to a recovery curriculum so we will be putting great emphasis on reading across the two schools. Structure and routine will remain priority in school. This will help to ensure children have the boundaries and security to feel as emotionally and physically safe as they can.
Once we feel children are settled into school and school is running at a ‘new normal’ we will be carrying out ‘starting point reviews’ to ensure we have the most accurate data possible for each child. We will then be able to close gaps and support progress. We will have to maintain a degree of flexibility in our approach, so that we are constantly addressing the ever changing needs of our pupils. We very much value the work you have been doing at home and hope to continue to work together to support your child’s academic progress and overall wellbeing.
Carpenter, Barry and Carpenter, Matthew. Thinkpiece: “A Recovery Curriculum: Loss and Life for our children and our schools post-pandemic”. 23rd April 2020. https://barrycarpentereducation.files.wordpress.com/2020/04/recovery-curriculum-loss-and-life-for-our-children-and-schools-post-pandemic.pdf. Accessed 23 April 2020