During the COVID-19 pandemic, teachers and families across the country have provided extraordinary support to help children learn at home. However, for many children, the disruption caused by school closures will have had a negative impact on learning and wellbeing. With this in mind as a school we will be providing a recovery programme which will run, initially, During the Autumn Term.
This document is designed to summarise the strategies that WCPS is putting in place as part of our response to the pandemic.
The EEF state that it is important to recognise that every school will have been affected by Covid-19 differently and school leaders and teachers are best placed to understand the needs of their school communities. The right way to support pupils will differ between schools and must be informed by the professional judgement of teachers and school leaders.
They also make note that children from disadvantaged backgrounds are likely to have been affected particularly by school closures and may need more support to return to school and settle back into school life. This will be addressed in more detail in our PP spending plan.
In designing our recovery programme we have used the EEF COVID-19 support guide to ensure our practise is informed by extensive research.
When informing children and their families who their new class team will be a video, rather than a letter, will be used to allow children to find out about their new teacher.
Throughout the Summer holidays classes will be invited in to spend sessions with their new class team to allow children to get to know them in an unstructured environment. These sessions have been implemented to make pupils feel comfortable in their new class environment.
During the summer term detailed transition meetings have taken place to ensure that new class teachers have met with previous class teachers and a member of the nurture team. These transition sessions focused on using assessments to identify areas where pupils are likely to require additional support. The half a day session provided an opportunity for teachers to share information about pupils’ strengths and areas for development and further relevant information to support early relationship building.
For children entering Year One, we know from research that the more the environment, resources and routines are as they were in Reception, the easier the transition will be. In continuing the Early Years approach into Year One, the transition will build on their innate drive to learn through exploration and play. We will refine this drive and use it as tool to build on what they have been taught already, identify areas of need and deliver the requirements of the Year One Curriculum.
Supporting great teaching
We will continue to use accelerated learning are our teaching and learning approach for the delivery of our curriculum. Supported by EEF metacognition research, this has ensured the pace of learning is appropriate and has enabled pupils to secure rapid and sustained progress which has improved outcomes and standards within each lesson. Adopting the accelerated learning approach provides opportunities to build on prior learning and develop skills and knowledge through a consistent cycle of connection, activation, activity, demonstration and consolidation. High levels of engagement are achieved through purposeful and stimulating activities which absorb pupils in learning and also through providing opportunities for pupils to work collaboratively.
Core knowledge and skills are at the heart of the learning process. A gather, skills, apply approach to planning and delivery of lessons is taken across school to ensure children develop a deep understanding and are able to apply these in a range of situations.
Early career teachers have been assigned a mentor to ensure their practise continues to develop to a high standard.
The curriculum we will offer will still be broad and balanced however opportunities for Literacy and Maths links, in wider curriculum subjects, will be made to maximise opportunities for learning to be embedded.
We will continue to use Seesaw as a method of communicating with home as well as to direct home learning opportunities. After assessments, tasks will be assigned to individuals and groups to address gap needs. This will be introduced during intervention and booster sessions to be continued at home and check at the next session.
Pupil assessment and feedback
Assessments were made as schools closed in March. These have been used during transition meetings to discuss strengths and next steps. In September, for some subjects, baseline assessments will be used to identify particular areas where pupils have forgotten or misunderstood key concepts, to ensure that new material being covered builds on secure foundations. This data will also be used to identify pupils who would benefit from additional catch-up support.
The taught curriculum for each year group will be carefully planned ensuring it meets needs. The previous summer term curriculum will be dove tailed into the current autumn curriculum to ensure a recovery approach is taken and not just the teaching of the missed curriculum as this would mean children will always be 6 months behind as they move through school.
Effective formative assessment, marking and feedback and adult interaction within lessons is firmly embedded into our approach to teaching and learning. All pupils are supported to develop, progress and move their learning forward through support, questioning and feedback. Pupils demonstrate the impact this has on improving their learning through editing and response.
Through careful timetabling the school day will allow for teacher led whole class and small group interventions outside of the daily literacy and maths lessons. These sessions will vary in focus but will address identified gaps to allow for learning to be built on a secure knowledge base. These sessions will be delivered by teachers to ensure they are high quality and meeting need. At times appropriately qualified TA's will lead other groups while the intervention groups are led. These sessions will be run daily.
Research is showing that COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on children's mental health. Our response to this will be through the use of our nurture provision.
All teaching staff have accessed Trauma Informed Schools training allowing staff to offer nurturing approaches within all classrooms so that children are supported wherever they are learning. The nurture provision within Worsbrough Common Primary School is an approach where children have opportunities through out the week to work with the support of a nurture team.
Nurture sessions offer a short term, focused, intervention strategy, which addresses individual barriers to learning in an inclusive, supportive manner. Central to the philosophy is attachment theory; an area of psychology which explains the need for any person to be able to form secure and happy relationships with others in the formative years of their lives and our ongoing knowledge of neuroscience. Throughout the autumn term these sessions will also be offered before and after school.
We also support families to help them develop strategies to use with their children at home when they are displaying difficult behaviours. We work alongside professionals from a range of agencies to support our children and families to ensure they are able to reach their full potential and become well rounded members of society.
Part of our nurture provision is access to Forest Schools. Forest School uses the woods as a means to build independence, teamwork, problem solving skills and self-esteem. The Forest School curriculum compliments the classroom and the woodland environment is used to support all areas of learning including mathematics and literacy. Within sessions the woodland environment is used to support the development of a relationship between the learner and the natural world. Forest School uses a range of learner-centred processes to create a community for being, development and learning. Each session aims to promote the holistic development of all those involved, fostering resilient, confident, independent and creative learners. Children are offered the opportunity to take supported risks appropriate to the environment and to themselves. Forest School is run by a qualified Forest School practitioner. Each class will have access to the forest school session but individuals will also access through small group interventions.
Small group tuition
There is extensive evidence supporting the impact of high quality small group tuition as a catch-up strategy. Taking this in to consideration booster catchup sessions will be run before and after school by teachers and TA's. The focus for these booster sessions will initially be Y6 as a whole year group. Other year groups may decide to offer booster sessions once their baseline assessments have been completed.
Supporting Parents and Carers
Throughout the pandemic we have provided extensive pastoral support to pupils and families. As school restarts in September we will continue to provide regular and supportive communications with parents, especially to increase attendance and engagement with learning. We will continue to use Seesaw as a method of supporting learning at home, including homework.
Homework tasks throughout school will focus on reading, spelling and timestables. Tasks will be set inline with pupils abilities and will be assign through individual seesaw accounts. HCAT learning projects will be assigned to pupils through Seesaw weekly as optional tasks and support for families to engage with. These will be focused on recapping learning and skills in engaging contexts.
As suggested by the EEF, school will continue providing additional books and educational resources to families over the summer holidays. These will focus on reading, spelling and mental maths. Weekly access to the school library and ICT suite will be available for families to book.
In the event of a bubble closure or wider lockdown the school will move to a blended approach to home learning including live lessons on Microsoft Teams and the Seesaw platform.
Pupils will be assigned a Microsoft email address which will give them access to use Microsoft Teams. This will allow school staff to schedule video calls with classes to deliver live lessons. School staff will run these sessions at set times during the day and will set work for children to complete following the class input.
Seesaw will continue to be the platform we use for children to upload their work to ready for school staff to provide marking and feedback. Children have all been given their login details so this is accessible from home. In the event of isolation due to COVID issues Seesaw will be used to set work while children are absent.
Children across Nursery and Reception classes will continue to use Early Essence to upload home learning. Individual account details have been sent home for families to access.