For me, and many teaching professionals- the political rhetoric of ‘catch up’ and ‘lost learning’ is unhelpful to schools and insulting to families. Our brilliant staff work with the children every day to ensure their progress and to develop their curiosity and we know that we know that every single one of our pupils here at Castle Carrock had a different experience of lockdown. Our children have returned to school with different levels of learning, different experiences and a wider variety of interests than ever.
The priority for all schools is to make sure that our pupils are safe, and happy – this is a prerequesite for learning! As we are a small school we know our pupils really well and we recognise the changes in their well being. We can signpost families to services that may help, and we ensure that our children feel listened to at school. Books and stories can help, as can time with the adults in school. Time to play and express their feelings and emotions with one another, rebuilding friendships is also very important. We have invested in quality texts and resources that promote conversation and can support the children in learning how to express their thoughts. We have also given plenty of time to play, exercise and take part in school sports- using professional coaching staff where appropriate.
Quality not Quantity
Our staff are best places to support their pupils – and so we have spent some of the catch up funding ensuring that staffing is optimal and that teachers have the time to work with the pupils they know will benefit from this. This also means supporting staff to access training for some aspects of the pandemic. Whether it be adapting teaching for remote learning or supporting children’s mental health.
Some ‘interventions’ for the children in the form of pre-teaching (reviewing the lesson content in a basic from prior to the lesson) or individual focused work has been organised for some childen and if your child is benefitting from this then this will have been discussed at the meeting last month.
Adapting and Resourcing
As the pandemic continued, and school began to plan for both home and class based learning it became apparent that high quality resources, and adpating resources, would benefit our pupils. Online learning resources such as Spelling Shed, Times Table Rockstar and Espresso Learning have proven vital. We also bought into written work books such as White Rose Maths, and comprehension texts. These resources ensured consistency for the children at home and at school – maintaining challenge, vocabulary and, in the case of Spelling Shed and Times Table Rockstar, giving children a fun way to practise key skills. These resources now need to be maintained for the next year (and maybe beyond) as we aim to provide stability during the uncertain months ahead and ensure that any home learning resources have a similar feel and consistency to those in-school.
Links and Further Reading: