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Great Horwood Church of England School Where children play, learn and grow together

Recovery Curriculum 2020-2021

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Great Horwood School Covid-19 Catch Up Funding Strategy

Great Horwood Church of England School – Recovery Curriculum



Great Horwood Church of England School has put the children’s well-being at the centre of our thinking in preparing our recovery curriculum.  Whilst, feedback from parents regarding home learning has generally been positive, and at GHS we were fortunate to be able to have all children return to school in June; we recognise and acknowledge that the children will have had different experiences during this time.

However, the common thread running through all is the loss of routine, structure, friendship, opportunity and freedom.  These losses can trigger anxiety in any child.  Some of you may have experienced this with your own children.  We know that an anxious child is not in a place to learn effectively.   With this in mind, the school community has thought about the most effective way to support your child’s ability to learn.  This approach will encompass and support the academic expectations for your child.


The Rationale


Our approach will be based on the research of Professor Barry Carpenter, who has developed the Recovery Curriculum, as a response to the losses described above.  It is a way for schools to help children come back into school life, acknowledging the experiences the children have had.  We want the children to be happy, feel safe and able to be engaged in their learning.   A way to achieve this is to acknowledge the importance of helping lever the children back into school life using the following 5 Levers:


Lever 1: Relationships - we can’t expect all our students to return joyfully, and many of the relationships that were thriving, may need to be invested in and restored. We need to plan for this to happen, not assume that it will. We will reach out to greet them, use the relationships we build to cushion the discomfort of returning.

Lever 2: Community - we must recognise that the curriculum will have been based in the community for a long period of time. We need to listen to what has happened in this time, understand the needs of our community and engage them in the transitioning of learning back into school.

Lever 3: Transparent Curriculum - all of our students will feel like they have lost time in learning and we must show them how we are addressing these gaps, consulting and co-constructing with our students to heal this sense of loss.

Lever 4: Metacognition - in different environments, students will have been learning in different ways. It is vital that we make the skills for learning in a school environment explicit to our students to reskill and rebuild their confidence as learners.

Lever 5: Space - to be, to rediscover self, and to find their voice on learning in this issue. It is only natural that we all work at an incredible pace to make sure this group of learners are not disadvantaged against their peers, providing opportunity and exploration alongside the intensity of our expectations.


Professor Barry Carpenter, CBE is Professor of Mental Health in Education at Oxford Brookes University.




Approaches to ensuring a successful return to school


At Great Horwood School, our recovery curriculum built around the 5 levers is strongly linked to PSHE and Pastoral Care, with the need to focus on rebuilding relationships, and to re-engage the disengaged as pupils have experienced loss where their routine, structure, freedom, friendships, where opportunities have been affected.

In the classroom, we need to regenerate the learning pathways, focus and concentration as well as the flow of learning. This may be through re-designing lessons to include mini breaks for movement, mindfulness or time to talk to refocus the class.

The consequences of loss can lead to a child being developing anxiety, attachment difficulties, bereavement and trauma.  This causes a child to act out through tantrums, mood swings, clingier, sleep deprivation, angry their world has been turned upside down or regression to younger habits e.g. bed wetting, thumb sucking.


Returning to school- Immediate Responses


Staff will need to rebuild the relationship and trust between pupils: 

  • Clear communication and transparency of the new health and safety and school behaviour systems need to be taught immediately
  • Build feelings of positivity, safety and community, show the children it is safe to back at school and routines/rules are consistently followed
  • Labelling emotions and link them to their emotions
  • Quiet spaces and small walks to help with anxiety
  • Triage disclosures and increase school support services delivered by staff
  • Highlight support services available
  • Adjust our expectations in the early days
  • Uplifting assemblies focusing on positive messages and hope for the future
  • Baseline assessments to identify knowledge gaps


Supporting me to build positive relationships with others

What this will help me to learn?

What that may look like?

Supporting pupils to rebuild relationships and re learn how to interact and build relationships with others including:

  • Sharing, turn taking, greeting and interaction with others positively;
  • Play alongside and with peers;
  • Seeking adults to help, support and comfort me when I need them;
  • To know which adults help me and can support me to keep safe when I need them.

There will be opportunities within the day where the focus is on rebuilding relationships with peers and adults. This may be in the form of:

  • Turn taking games and activities
  • Sharing games and activities
  • Interaction opportunities using call and response games and songs.
  • Time where adults can give sole attention to pupils re-building relationships
  • Games and activities where pupils can work together such as board games or outdoor PE games.
  • Safety work about who keeps us safe and who can keep us safe at school and at home and in the community
  • Safety work about how adults can help us.
  • Activities that link to children’s interests to show we are interested in them



PSHE Education


PSHE is preventative education which is delivered as a lesson using a distanced approach. PSHE is:

  • Carefully planned lessons following the school’s scheme of work. At GHS we use the PSHE association schemes of work and the 3D PSHE Let’s Begin Again, programme of work. This is enhanced by other appropriate resources such as Healthy Minds, and Twinkl.
  • Develops knowledge, skills and attributes
  • Rebuilds promoting of self-esteem and resilience

To support pupils at GHS we are using the 3D PSHE “Let’s Begin Again!” for Early Years, KS1 and KS2 resources. These five weekly sessions work alongside our PSHE schemes of work and planning to help children return to school within the 5 levers.

They all focus on five key levers, providing a whole school approach:-

  • A Sense of Community:

Helping pupils reconnect as a school community, recognising the important part each individual plays.

  • Rebuilding Relationships:

Refocusing on friendships and positive relationships within school

  • Re-establishing Routines:

Ensuring people settle back into school life, adjusting well to necessary changes.

  • Respecting Space and Social Distancing:

Establishing a ‘new normal’ in relation to proximity and personal space.

  • Experiencing Loss:

Supporting pupils as they struggle to understand their emotions.


Pastoral Care


Our Pastoral care works alongside the PSHE curriculum as it is reactive to the personal and emotional needs of the child. It also supports the school in creating a safe, healthy environment and strategies for behaviour management.  At Great Horwood School we are extremely fortunate to have a highly qualified pastoral mentor who comes into school weekly to work with pupils who require additional support.

Pastoral care reacts to pupils who:

  • Have increased need/vulnerability
  • Delivers immediate, timely interventions
  • 1:1 support for specific needs
  • Personal approach, bespoke to the needs of the child
  • Building relationships/ re-establishing trust

Pupils who need pastoral care may be having difficulties with mental health, family relationships, bereavement and readjusting from working from home.


Mental Wellbeing


We recognise that pupils will need support to speak about their experiences with specific focus on trauma informed approaches (Carpenter 2020). Therefore in order to support mental wellbeing:


  • There will be emphasis on drama and speaking and listening approaches, PSHE and the use of circle-time based activities. The use of the Contemplative toolkit will help to support pupil’s spiritual development. A theme for autumn worship will be on developing resilience and showing compassion.


  • The curriculum will focus on learning that promotes self-expression and creativity. There will be a focus on artistic and craft-based learning that will support pupil’s fine motor skills and concentration. The intention being that pupils who have been traumatised through this pandemic can undertake creative learning to encourage communication with work matched to pupil’s needs.


  • Working in smaller, socially distanced groups where this is judged as needed, will support pupils to re-engage with their friends and allow them to talk and communicate with each other whilst focussing on tasks.



Supporting me to manage my feelings and behaviour

What this will help me to learn?

What that may look like?

  • Supporting pupils to understand their emotions and feelings and begin to process the experiences they have had.
  • Supporting pupils to relearn some positive behaviour which they may have forgotten being outside of the school environment.
  • Supporting pupils to engage with self-regulation strategies and tools which help me to feel safe and calm.
  • Supporting pupils to understand the world we live in with tools and strategies to help them process what is different and what we can do to help.
  • There will be clear routines which are supported by visuals and clear communication which may include use of visual timetables so pupils know what is happening each day and at each part of the day.
  • Some structures and boundaries may be different in school because of social distancing and processes related to this so some tools we will use are social stories and use of visuals to guide and support.
  • The structure will be supportive and provide opportunities within this that enables and allows pupils to express themselves and express the experiences they have had whilst they were not at school.
  • We will do this by being clear with boundaries and using therapeutic approaches to supporting behaviour and emotions.
  • We will also be using therapeutic tools to support pupils in communicating with us such as building in regular circle time, a class worry box, cosmic yoga, structured play times, Mind yeti, (mindfulness) and the use of appropriate stories e.g. My big bag of worries.
  • There will be regular sessions where we explore and express emotions, using zones of regulation to open up discussions about emotions and circle time which will support pupils to explore their feelings as well as modelling processing and talking about feelings and emotions linked to this experience.
  • There will be regular opportunities for pupils to engage in self - regulation activities such as with sensory breaks, active breaks, and use of resources which support individuals.
  • In addition there will be lots of opportunities for pupils to practise their communication so that they are able to feel like they have a voice and are able to express their wants and needs.



Physical Health and Wellbeing


We are aware that many children will have spent a large proportion of their time in their homes due to the COVID-19 outbreak so there could be a major challenge to stay physically active. Inactive behaviour and low levels of physical activity can have negative effects on quality of life, health and wellbeing of pupils. Therefore, the curriculum has been designed to promote physical activity outside within the framework of social distancing.


Supporting my physical health and wellbeing

What this will help me to learn?

What that may look like?

  • Supporting pupils to re-engage with physical health and wellbeing routines as well as learn new routines which will support pupils to keep safe and enable infection control.
  • Supporting pupils to be independent through their own dressing and undressing where needed.
  • Supporting pupils to be physically well through active sessions, use of outdoor space and understanding about keeping physically well.
  • We will be planning in time where children are able to explore and reinvestigate their environments to become familiar with what might be different (i.e. one way systems in school, different zones in school, different access to resources in the classroom, rooms only used occasionally)
  • Learning in supporting physical health and wellbeing will focus on managing and coping within these new processes and keeping safe.
  • This will include: Understanding what is different about school and how to navigate this environment,
  • Hand washing and hygiene measures
  • Adapting to using areas of the school that may not be usual and being in environment and with staff that are not usual.
  • Keeping and maintaining social distancing Catch it, kill it, bin it messages
  • Health and hygiene sessions focussing on washing hands regularly
  • A proportion of each school day will be spent on activities that encourage play and sport.
  • In addition, wherever possible, outdoor learning opportunities and exploration in the conservation area activities will be planned outside of the classroom.


Transparent Curriculum: Recovering the lost knowledge and skills


Pupil’s learning at school ended abruptly at the beginning of the pandemic and while many pupils have successfully managed home learning, we appreciate that there will be gaps in knowledge and skills that will need to be supported and addressed.


  • Teachers have reviewed the curriculum and those learning objectives, skills and knowledge not taught face to face and have planned for opportunities for where these gaps may be addressed in the future based on the progression within the curriculum plan. 


  • Early in the Autumn term 2020 will be a time for teachers to establish where and what those gaps are, without making assumptions. We are aware some children will have gone above and beyond in some areas of the curriculum while others may not have maintained the standards they were working at before they left school and worked from home. 


  • During the Autumn Term, foundation subjects will be taught fortnightly to allow for the additional time for teaching phonics, reading, writing, number work, the PSHE curriculum and outdoor play and physical activity.


  • Teachers will take the time to re-establish old routines, introduce new routines and the expectations of behaviour necessary help to support all pupils as they return to school.



Supporting me to enjoy and achieve

What this will help me to learn?

What that may look like?

  • Supporting pupils to have moments where they feel successful and can engage in moments of enjoyment and achievement.
  • This success will be within pupil’s abilities and easily accessible recognising that when pupils have experienced trauma, their abilities to learn new concepts and be challenged is less.
  • Pupils use schemas of learning which they are familiar to explore when processing events in their lives and planned provision will focus on what is familiar, e.g. phonics, whole school reading time, circle time, story time and worship.
  • We will use familiar curriculum type sessions that pupils will be used to, that provide children with experiences that feel like “the norm”.
  • Using what we know about schematic learning and how children process, this will look like familiar structured sessions in pupils day and opportunities to engage in play opportunities.
  • We will be providing enjoyable activities which provide children with “fun” so that they can rejuvenate with positive endorphins and want to engage.
  • Sessions which will feel familiar will be different for each learning hub and class group according to their age.
  • Curriculum sessions that provide familiar structures (like phonics, maths, guided reading, times tables.)
  • Independent learning where provision takes account of schematic learning.
  • Learning on whiteboard where these are familiar
  • Outdoor play and story time
  • Learning in these sessions will link to previous and current topic learning or children’s key interests and motivators.
  • Children will have missed out on many opportunities being at home that they are naturally exposed to at school like peer play. Active opportunities and experiences which develop their cognition and learning and will be built into each day to support children to have a broad range of opportunity, experience and fun.


Useful Website Links to support the Recovery Curriculum.