Curriculum Development in response to Covid-19
In response to the disruption to face to teaching during lockdown, we have adapted our curriculum during 2020-2021. As we prepared for all pupils to return to school in September, our thoughts shifted towards what our pupils might need both within and beyond the classroom to ensure their well being and learning are ‘On Track’. We considered what an ON TRACK curriculum might look like in order to address three key questions:
1.What social and emotional support might be required in order to build a firm foundation for learning following what may have been, for some, a very difficult experience during lockdown?
2. What gaps might be present in pupils’ learning and how do we get pupils back on track?
3. What additional support might need to be put in place beyond the classroom?
We have also adapted our curriculum offer for 2021-2022 and beyond ensuring that should anything happen like this in the future there are clear build-able knowledge units that can be easily recapped whilst retaining our Topic approach for each year group.
Our ‘On Track’ adapted curriculum approach for 2020-21 is divided into three distinct phases:
Connect, consolidate and catch up.
Connect places a focus upon ensuring that strong personal, physical, social and emotional foundations are in place for leaners before we can address issues of curriculum and learning.
This is a universal offer provided for all pupils. At the start of Autumn Term all pupils will be assessed using the Thrive Approaches assessment tool for age related expectations in Social, Emotional and Mental Health. Any children that have significant gaps in their SEMH development will have access to 1:1 or small group Thrive session with our lead practitioner.
All children will have weekly MindUP and PSHE sessions as a priority throughout the year. Each year group will also have a timetable of Forest School activities, Team building Events and outdoor Team games to strengthen connections once more.
MindUP, is a highly acclaimed school-based framework that teaches children the critical knowledge and skills they need to strengthen their mental health and emotional well-being through increased self-awareness, self-regulation and social and emotional competencies.
At the core is a 15-lesson curriculum, for each year group, based firmly in neuroscience, that teaches pupils across EYFS, KS1 & KS2, the skills and knowledge they need to regulate their stress and emotions, form positive relationships, and act with kindness and compassion.
MindUP is one of the most researched and evidence-based global programmes impacting children’s mental health. MindUP helps teachers create an optimistic classroom characterized by focused attention, gratitude, empathy, and connection to others. Our MindUP journey is designed to help pupils deepen their understanding of their own mental processes. By learning how their brains respond to stress and by practising strategies for quieting their minds, pupils become better at self-regulating, increasing their capacity for absorbing information, and improve their relationship skills.
Consolidate places an acute focus on curriculum- by that we mean, what we teach and how we teach it. It’s success rests upon a well-planned and sequenced curriculum which is delivered through precise teaching, using up to date, research-based methods. This is a universal offer provided for all pupils and is the cornerstone of our plan.
All children will be individually assessed in Reading, Writing and Maths on their return to school in September and after any future period of lockdown. This enables us to have a personalised baseline for each child.
From September for the Autumn and Spring Terms only we will have a clear focus and drive on catch-up improvement for Reading and Phonics using Read, Write Inc. And by promoting writing across the Curriculum in Science, History and Geography.
For Autumn and Spring Term all pupils will receive:
- Daily Phonics and/or Spelling and Grammar and Guided Reading.
- Daily English lessons
- Daily Maths Lessons using Power Maths and White Rose
- Weekly RE, PSHE, Outdoor Games
- And blocked lessons for History, Science, Geography
- Art, DT, Computing and Music will be taught in topic days or within other curriculum areas to enable us to focus our time on Reading, Writing, Maths, History, Geography and Science.
- MFL and indoor PE will be taught from Summer 2021
This enables us to keep our curriculum broad whilst prioritising key National Curriculum objectives and Intervention for Catch up.
Our strong curriculum and high-quality teaching and learning are the vehicles by which the majority of pupils will be on track. But doing less better enables the taking of time to help pupils to re-connect with the intensity of learning, consolidate content and consider how best to ensure the key knowledge, content and skills are covered in the right amount of depth in each subject.
Before each topic is taught teachers will ensure the build-up lessons revisit concepts from the previous year’s learning thus giving pupils a second chance to catch up with content. Throughout the year we have also timetable revisit weeks each term. Where the teacher is able to use ongoing assessment to plan a recap of any knowledge that the children may need to revisit again to consolidate before moving on.
We have had to carefully consider questions such as:
1. What was taught remotely during any lockdown? Does this need to be revisited to ensure pupils have the foundations to move on to the next steps in learning?
2. What skills and knowledge will be covered in later units of work and don’t need to be taught this year?
3. Which essential knowledge, skills and concepts must remain in the curriculum and what can we afford to remove to ensure the essential content is covered in depth?
4. If we can’t cover essential content in the depth required, what can we remove whilst still covering the national curriculum and lay the foundations for next steps in learning
Subject Leads and teachers have had to be creative and very clever with their planning, but we have not compromised on the curriculum ambition, breadth and depth that we set out to achieve. We will continue to be responsive to any further absence and have plans in place for remote learning, should we need them.
This is the third phase of our ON TRACK plan and will provide for those pupils who may need more bespoke pastoral and academic support. This will be delivered through targeted small group support and/or one to one provision, through a blend of internal pastoral care or academic intervention and external multi-agency support.
From our individual assessments there will be a range of bespoke packages on offer these include:
- 1:1 or small group phonics daily on top of class teaching
- Fresh start KS2 English intervention
- Fluid daily Maths strengthening or deepening activities
- Maths interventions such as 1stclass@number 1&2, Success@arithmetic
- Bespoke Writing Interventions such as Think Pink, Hold a sentence.
- Emotional Literacy Programme
- Lego Social Intervention
- Thrive 1:1 small group bespoke support.
- Catch up 1:1 online Tutoring for Maths and 1: small group face to face tutoring for Writing.