Recovery Curriculum 2020/21
The impact of Covid-19 has meant children across the country have missed time in school to learn and socialise. We recognise how this will have affected every family in different ways, and the strains of lockdown may have created new barriers to learning, exacerbated existing challenges for children or had a negative effect on their mental health and well-being.
During the last six months, children have experienced a period of time where they were unable to see their friends and family whilst their usual daily routine and structure was abandoned. They will have also experienced a range of emotions, both positive and negative, due to the uncertainty of the situation and the unusual circumstances they have found themselves in. Whatever the impact on pupils learning and wellbeing, what matters now is how we respond in the upcoming academic year. Beaver Road is committed to providing an evidence-informed response to help restore vital learning routines and ensure our pupils and teachers have the best chance of success. Our staff have planned ‘A Recovery Curriculum’, which is inspired by the work of Barry Carpenter, a professor of Mental Health in Education. It is a curriculum which is built on 5 levers to help ‘lever’ the children back into school to restore children’s relationship with school, learning and their peers.
Lever 1 – Relationships
Beaver Road prides itself on the importance it already places on building positive relationships with all members of the school community, but it is something we are committed to investing in further. As the children return to school, we will give children the time to reconnect with both their friends and staff through various means such as co-operative learning activities, team building games, emotion coaching and the zones of regulation.
Lever 2 – Community
As some children will have spent half a year at home, we will endeavour to listen to what the children’s experiences have been like throughout this period so we can understand the needs of our children and the wider community and engage with them to get them ready to learn. Teachers will devote time to listen to the children on a 1:1 basis, whilst empowering the children with the vocabulary they need to express their thoughts and feelings. In doing so, we will be able to address any un-resolved issues which may prevent children from being ready to learn.
Lever 3 – Transparent Curriculum
Our children will return to school having had a range of learning experiences at home, but inevitably, having spent time out of school, children have missed substantial parts of their education. Therefore, the teaching team at Beaver Road are concentrating on improving the quality of learning to help our children bridge the gap. High quality teaching is the most important lever schools have to improve outcomes for pupils. We feel it is much more beneficial to take a long-term approach to supporting the children with their missed learning by focusing on the quality of our curriculum. By identifying the concepts we are teaching and carefully choosing the knowledge and skills we need to teach within these concepts, and how they are sequenced, we will be equipped to best support our children.
‘Plans should not be based on the concept of ‘intervention’ but rather on long-term resilience…It is more important that we focus on building system resilience in the longer term…rather than resort to short-term interventionism.’ Leora Cruddas – CEO of the Confederation of School Trusts.
Lever 4 – Metacognition
To help the children improve cognition and learning across the whole curriculum, lessons will involve teachers linking new learning to something the children already know, have heard about or have experienced, ‘building schema’. In doing so, an existing neuron in the brain is working at the same time as the one about the new learning, thus creating a stronger pathway in the brain and making it more likely that information will be retained.
Learning is defined as an alteration in long-term memory. If nothing has altered in long-term memory, nothing has been learned. By activating the use of our schemas, it ensures that children are locking new pieces of learning onto items already embedded in long-term memory, expanding our existing schemas with new information.
Lever 5 - Space
The children at Beaver Road will be given the space and time to make links between areas of learning and be given the opportunities to explain their understanding. They will spend time thinking about the aspect of the curriculum being studied. They will also be given space to build retrieval strength, in other words, they will be given time to practice remembering things they have learned in the past. The more they practice, the easier this will be. Research shows that this practice benefits from being spaced over increasingly long time periods. Our children will also be given the space they need to be independent. Teachers will plan activities that develop independence in our learners.
The PERMA model of well being
The PERMA model is a well researched model of well being which we believe our recovery curriculum has strong links to. Children have to be in a positive frame of mind if they are to be ready to learn. By using the recovery curriculum levers, children are required to recall an experience and therefore they are more likely to think positively about the learning and engage with what is being taught. By being given the time and space to talk about their experiences the relationships with their peers and the teacher will be strengthened and they will be able to give more meaning to their learning and have a sense of accomplishment.