Posts from July 2020

As the summer term comes to an end, our thoughts turn to head teachers who have spent five months with the emotional load of rethinking everything, thinking about every little detail of how to keep staff and children safe all the time. 
 
Every week has seemed to bring about another load of different procedural changes, then there was the need to open for key workers’ children, then Reception, Year 1, and Year 6, then wider opening, and it must have been like jugging multiple schools simultaneously. 
 
Not only has the building been under the spotlight, but so has providing a home school provision under the scrutiny of parents and the wider world. 
If you work in a hospital or care home and have been risking your health to care for COVID-19 patients, enormous heartfelt thanks to each one of you.  
 
We can’t imagine what the past few months have been like, what you’ve been witnessing, especially if you’re one of the last people to be with someone as they die, or you’re the one informing families of their relative’s decline and death over the phone. 
Are you feeling confused about how to approach children’s return to school in September? There are lots of conflicting opinions out there. An article in Friday’s TES talked about children needing routine, not hugs.  
 
Then there is The Recovery Curriculum – Evidence for Learning by Professor Barry Carpenter CBE and Matthew Carpenter – based on five levers, Relationships, Community, Transparent Curriculum, Metacognition, and Space (see Compass Hub for a free five-week Recovery Curriculum). You may have also heard terms like trauma-led approach, gratitude, Restorative Practice, SWAN, positive thinking, that all children have suffered an ACE (Adverse Child Experience), and more. 
Going back to the classroom after lockdown
We’ve been hearing about teachers being taught the SWAN framework as a springboard for thinking about the return to school for children and adults, whereby the swan looks like they are gracefully gliding across the surface, whilst in fact they are frantically paddling beneath the water. Teachers are being told that right now, our children need us more than ever to be the swan. 
 
Please think about what this teaches children before you start gliding around like nothing has happened. This teaches children that the right response to loss is to be strong. 
Going back to the classroom after lockdown
Lockdown has brought about a sudden and unexpected loss of income for thousands. Even those who have been put on the furlough scheme are still not in receipt of their full monthly income. Then there are those who have been excluded from government schemes, such as the newly self-employed, company directors, and freelance workers. Some have taken pay cuts, and others have lost their jobs altogether. 
 
This level of loss can be devastating. It’s the loss of your financial security, loss of perhaps being able to buy food, and could mean the loss of your home. There are no ceremonies around the loss of finances and the dreams that went with them. We are left feeling unfinished and lost. 
Financial loss during lockdown
We are extremely excited to launch a year-long curriculum for schools, which has been created to give children the means to deal with losses of any kind and help their emotional development and wellbeing. The Open Ears Programme, designed to fit with the new PSHE guidelines due to come into place from September, is intended for whole-class teaching. 
 
Children will also gain plenty of other skills too, such as self-awareness, taking responsibility, being a good friend, and learning how to listen. 
As Lockdown measures ease some more, there are reports predicting that vast amounts of people are planning on moving around the country, driving to the coast, going to the pubs and restaurants, and staying away from home. This is causing new levels of anxiety for some; more anxiety that when we went into Lockdown. We’re all in unknown territory once again, experiencing the loss of everything we were getting used to in our new normal. 
Seaside holiday Super Saturday
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