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.
Research to support our recovery
When considering our Recovery Curriculum we used Evidence For Learning's reference to building on the 5 Levers, as a systematic, relationships-based approach to reigniting the flame of learning in each child. Many children will return to school disengaged. Our quest, our mission as educators, should be to support children through a process of re-engagement, which leads them back to their rightful status as a fully engaged, authentic learners. Our curriculum through the initial stages will prioritise identifying gaps and re-establishing good progress in the essentials (phonics, reading, increasing vocabulary, writing and mathematics) whilst remaining broad and ambitious for all. They have a strong use of real-life experiences to motivate and engage pupils in lessons.
High expectation, high quality and high engagement have been the key strands to our remote learning and we promote this throughout our remote education offer. We have taught the same broad & balanced curriculum remotely as we do in school wherever possible and appropriate. This consistency of approach through mirroring the school timetable will ease transition, as the planning and sequencing of lessons has continued to follow the same routines as in school.
During the first spring half term, class teachers have continued to use formative assessment and tracking documents to monitor pupil progress. This rigorous approach to assessments will support class teachers to identify areas where pupils are likely to require additional support and provide opportunities for teachers to share information about pupils’ strengths. This ensures that curriculum planning, on return, is informed by an assessment of pupils’ starting points and gaps in their knowledge and an understanding of what is the most critical content for progression.
To motivate and engage our children upon return to school, teasers and snippets of engaging hooks and lesson content will be shared with them at home to re-establish early relationship building.
Targeted pupils were offered a place for 3 or 2 days in the final week to get used to returning to school and the routine.
On Friday 26th February, staff have posted postcards by hand to all homes. These contained details about the return to school on 8th March and pictures of key staff working with pupils. They may have even seen you to say hello and provide any answers to questions you may have had. Contact has been made with all pupils/parents weekly via telephone or online. We ensured all pupils had the opportunity to speak to their teacher(s) or leaders in school.
We led coffee and chat sessions for parents alongside our weekly chat and check-ins with pupils online in the week commencing 1st March 2021. These were set up per year group so parents and pupils had the opportunity to share any worries/concerns and to ask any questions they may have. Parent's weekly coffee mornings were run throughout the lockdown. Pupil check-ins occurred weekly from Spring 2.
We also offered a time to visit the playground, stay socially distanced and see school leaders on the final Friday afternoon (5th March) before the full return to school. Regular updates were sent via text/email/arbor/Seesaw and Twitter. Key documents were updated on our website and re-sent to all parents.
Our approach to Teaching & Learning
We will continue to use accelerated learning as 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.
What about Seesaw/Teams?
If your child is at home shielding or isolating but well enough to complete work, they will have their lessons shared via the same methods used during lockdown/bubble closures. This will be live learning via Teams and they will be expected to post work to Seesaw. They will not receive instant feedback at this time due to staff being in school with the rest of the class. Teachers will mark work at the end of the school day so they receive feedback and do not fall behind.
We will continue to use Seesaw as a method of communicating with home as well as to direct home learning opportunities. Following ongoing assessments, tasks will be assigned to individuals and groups to address gap needs. This will be introduced during targeted support and booster sessions to be continued at home and check at the next session.