The extended school closure due to Covid-19 has the potential to have a significant negative impact on the learning of our students.
As a result, we have put in place a robust ‘recovery plan’ that is designed to meet the specific needs of all of our students and support them to realise their full potential. This plan will be reviewed regularly to enable us to provide the support that our students need and deserve.
Our recovery plan is organised into three stages:
Re-engage. Our aim is to support students to return to a school experience that is as close to normality as is possible. Our approach to remote learning during the lockdown has been designed to support this.
Review. We need to review the progress that students are making as they re-engage with day-to-day education in school. As well as identifying the learning that has been lost, there needs to be a focus on assessing the speed with which students are ‘catching up’. We also need to closely monitor the well-being of all students, ensuring all who require additional support are able to receive this.
Recover. Once students have successfully been re-engaged with day-to-day education in school, and we have reviewed their progress, more significant curriculum and other changes will be made as appropriate. At all times, the best interests of each student will be at the heart of any changes made. We also need to consider longer-term measures that will help to support the well-being of all students and, where appropriate, provide increasingly intensive support to the most vulnerable students who face the greatest challenges in successfully returning to school.
Key Elements of Our Recovery Plan
Curriculum focus on vital content. Our starting point is to ensure that the core curriculum lesson time that we have with our students has the maximum impact. Extensive work has taken place to review the curriculum in each subject to ensure our teachers have been able to identify the knowledge and skills that will be vital to the success of their students. As a result,, we can be confident that the learning that takes place focuses precisely upon this.
Digital strategy. The school developed an approach to setting remote learning that was successful during the extended national lockdown from March to July 2020. As a consequence of this approach, high numbers of students were regularly accessing learning throughout this period. Whilst we appreciate that there is no substitute for students being in a classroom with their teacher, our approach helped us to reduce the learning deficit and place us in a strong position to recover. We have detailed contingency plans in place that means we are confident that we will be able to respond effectively in the event of any partial or total closure of schools in the future.
Further literacy development. Whilst literacy development is already identified as a key priority for the school, there is now an even greater focus upon this as a consequence of the loss of learning time. The introduction of the ‘Reciprocal Reading’ and ‘Reading Plus’ approaches will provide students with a strategy that they can internalise and then apply to enable them to extract meaning from complex texts. In addition, where teachers identify students as requiring further intervention, this is provided through a comprehensive support programme.
Focused and high impact intervention. Even though we are ensuring excellent delivery in lessons, the loss of learning time means that it is important for schools to look at where additional time may be found. will achieve this in a variety of ways including extending the school day and intervention sessions that take place outside of curriculum time. Crucially, all intervention that takes place is carefully coordinated to ensure it will have a significant impact on identified areas of lost learning. In this way, we are confident that our approach will ensure our students are supported to fulfil their enormous potential.
As indicated above, we have extended our core school learning hours to enable us to offer high-quality intervention. In addition to lessons at the end of our regular school day, we also offer holiday intervention programmes for individual students who are identified as requiring extra support.
The school has also developed a programme of one-to-one intervention staffed by intervention tutors who have been specifically employed for this role. Our intervention tutors work with a range of students, focusing particularly on those in Year 11 who need additional support to prepare them for their external examinations this summer. By using our team of intervention tutors to work with disadvantaged students, and those with weak literacy skills, we ensure that all of our students are given an opportunity to maximise their potential.
Supporting the social and emotional needs of all pupils. Our priority is to support our students to thrive and they can only do so when they are happy and secure. We recognise that our students have had many different experiences over recent months and that we must provide a wide variety of support to ensure a positive return to day-to-day education. Thinking about the needs of all students and the specific needs of individuals is at the heart of our recovery approach and the school has extensive pastoral and welfare support in place to support students’ wellbeing.