All teachers have planned a ‘recovery curriculum’ during the phased re-entry to school which covers all core skills based on creative activities that help to reintroduce learning habits, working together, self-confidence and collaborative learning that has enabled children simply to settle back into school routines again. What we have observed is an eagerness to learn, children are in fact ready to learn, they do not appear to have significant gaps, despite the long absence from school. This is highly encouraging. The ‘recovery curriculum’ will soon be replaced with our normal planned teaching towards our usual outcomes. We are in receipt of government funds to help with catch up. As a school we have decided to use the money to tutor children who may have lost ground. That will be for one year and will put in place soon. This is to support those who have found remote learning challenging and those who need specific support, being identified in school now.
Mental Health and Wellbeing
This is our priority as a school. Our returning ‘recovery curriculum’ is designed to identify, assess and respond to individual children who clearly display anxieties either about the Coronavirus Pandemic or indeed simply about returning to what may appear to be a different school, following such a long break. Our family mentor and behaviour support manager are on hand to support any individual, learner or staff. All lessons have a focus on health and well-being. Every learner will be reflecting on the time out of school and visiting the very many emotions that the Pandemic has stirred and how to respond to them. Children will be looking at how the Pandemic is affecting families around the world, so that they come to understand the global issues which will help them put their own fears into perspective. Children will be responding to these important questions through discussion creatively, in all subjects, including art and music where our fears can be expressed through different mediums. It is important to remind children that the school is their community and how we move forward will be with their support. They are certainly rising up to this challenge. All our usual rewards remain in place so we celebrate individual’s successes during the week. At Shirley Manor, addressing mental health and wellbeing is not limited to a particular subject or time, it permeates through everything we do from lessons, to break time activities to the manner in which we eat in our dining area. The strength of the school is our relationships and so ensuring these remain strong brings about the safe and secure setting that we are, even during the Pandemic.
The remote learning via Dojo and recommended sites had a varied response from children and parents. Some individuals accessed Dojo many times and uploaded their work onto their portfolios. Completed work was successfully uploaded for marking. The challenges for some included those who struggled to upload work and some children struggled with the concept of online learning. A number of children did not have access to the technology. We therefore provided all children with a core text with paper based activities linked to their learning to compliment the online tasks. The much anticipate provision of free laptops for some children came to fruition very late in the period but will serve well for the future.
Remote Learning in the Future
The school will be looking to develop online teaching, so that face to face teaching can take place in the case of necessity or the event of a further lockdown/school closure. Teachers are looking at recording facilities within the classroom so teaching can be uploaded on Dojo for children to access.
Messages from staff will be important for good communication on Dojo. The app enables a text conversation to be had between the teacher and parent. During school based ICT lessons, all children will be shown how to access the learning videos and how to upload their work to avoid the problems highlighted previously. We are also working with Primary Tech to recondition some old laptops for loan to families who do not have access to IT.