The CASE curriculum

When the children return to school there needs to be a Recovery Curriculum in place; this is because daily routines will have faded and any known curriculum framework will need to be different.

The Coronavirus pandemic occurred extremely swiftly and has impacted across every layer of society without discrimination. The country moved to a period of lockdown with school access reserved exclusively for children of keyworkers or those that are vulnerable.

Therefore, there are a wider group of pupils in the systems that have undergone a traumatic event with respect to Covid-19. The impact has been significant for pupils, parents, and school staff because their school year ended abruptly; with that in mind, schools need to focus on anticipating the challenges and opportunities that will have arisen regarding the pandemic to minimise the risks and to develop a proactive strategy to support pupil in their return to school (Morrow-Howell et al, 2020).

In the first instance, schools will have supported pupils through a remote learning approach either sending work packs home or posting work via their website or through email (Google Classroom). Establishing a semblance of routine has been extremely important and school staff will be probably using online instruction for the first time (Morgan, 2020).

However, it is inevitable that pupils will fall behind experiencing anxiety about work and the fear of coronavirus. Venn has undertaken a review of the current literature to understand how it can support pupils post-pandemic adopting a compassionate leadership model to embrace a new way of teaching and learning (Carpenter, 2020).

When the children return to school there needs to be a Recovery Curriculum in place; this is because daily routines will have faded and any known curriculum framework will need to be different.

Children’s familiarity of routine will have dissipated and for many children the loss of structure will have serious consequences for their mental health and well-being. A key factor for parents who have been encouraged to establish clear routines for home schooling. Children need to know what they are doing now and what will come next.

Children will have experienced loss as a common lived experience and with these considerations in mind we have developed a curriculum that is based on the recovery curriculum (Carpenter, 2020).

The recovery curriculum is based on five key levers:

  • Lever 1: Relationships – we can’t expect 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. Reach out to greet them, use the relationships we build to cushion the discomfort of returning.
  • Lever 2: Community – we must recognise that 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.

  • ‘A Recovery Curriculum:  Loss and Life for our children and schools post pandemic.’ Professor Barry Carpenter (2020)

Venn’s approach

Venn has taken these principles and changed them in to four areas called the CASE curriculum to support pupils:

  • Creativity

    To support pupils’ mental wellbeing the curriculum will focus on learning that promotes self-expression. Some of the work is based on activities from the the Transition Toolkit (Rae, 2020). In addition, there will be focus on artistic and craft-based learning to support pupils’ fine motor skills and concentration. The intention being pupils who have been traumatised during the pandemic can undertake creative learning to encourage communication with work matched to children’s needs. Working in small groups (socially distanced) will support children to reengage with their friends and allow them to talk and communicate with each other whilst focussing on tasks.

  • Activity

    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 behavior and low levels of physical activity can have negative effects on quality of life, health and well-being of children (Yarımkaya & Esentürk, 2020). Therefore the curriculum has been designed to promote physical activity outside, within the framework of social distancing. A proportion of the school day will be spent engaged in learning activities that encourage play and sport. In addition, learning spaces will be created on the school grounds to support pupils to learn in the open air. Each setting will develop its physical education plan to support pupils to exercise and be active whilst maintaining social distancing.

  • Standards

    Children’s learning was ended abruptly at the beginning of the pandemic, as a result there will gaps in learning and knowledge that will need to be supported. Teachers will co-construct learning to reinforce the key basic skills of mathematics, reading, writing spelling and grammar. The planning of the curriculum will support a steady development of the learning that has been missed; work will continue to be sent home electronically for children to work with parents.

  • Emotional well-being

    Pupils will need support to speak about their experiences with specific focus on trauma informed approaches (Carpenter, 2020). There will be emphasis on drama, speaking and listening to support pupil’s mental health and well-being. The use of circle-based activities through PSHCE will develop pupil’s spiritual development. Children and young people will need to find and build upon their inner resources of resilience and adults will need to do likewise alongside learning how to talk to them about their fears and to do so in a therapeutic way which enable them to heal and to cope in their new reality. Additionally, there will be enhanced emphasis on pupils who have become dysregulated with development of consistent deployment of school behaviour policy (Carpenter, 2020). The policy will be reworked to take in to account the changes that will need to be in place to support pupils re-engaging with routine and to develop self-regulatory habits. The school behaviour policy will reengineer the use of antecedent-behaviour-consequence, scripted behaviour language, praise and token economy (Bennett, 2020; EEF, 2019)

References

Bennett, T., (2020) Rebooting behaviour after lockdown: advice to schools reopening in the age of COVID-19, http://behaviourguru.blogspot.com/2020/05/rebooting-behaviour-after-lockdown.html

Bryce, C., Ring, P., Ashby, S., & Wardman, J., (2020): Resilience in the face of uncertainty: early lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic, Journal of Risk Research, DOI: 10.1080/13669877.2020.1756379

Carpenter, B. et al (2015) ‘Engaging Learners with Complex Needs’, London, Routledge.

Education Endowment Foundation, (2020) Metacognition and self-learning, London.

Education Endowment Foundation, (2019) Improving behaviour in schools, London.

Liberty, K., (2018) ‘How research is helping our children after the earthquakes.’ https://www.healthprecinct.org.nz/stories/how-research-is-helping-our-children-after-the- earthquakes/ (accessed 14th April, 2020.)

Morgan, H., (2020) Best Practices for Implementing Remote Learning during a Pandemic, The Clearing House: A Journal of Educational Strategies, Issues and Ideas, 93:3, 134-140, DOI: 10.1080/00098655.2020.1751480

Rae, T., (2020) Using the Transition Tool kit to support year 6 reintegration post Covid-19, https://barrycarpentereducation.com/2020/04/23/the-recovery-curriculum/: accessed Friday 15 May 2020.

Yarımkaya, E., & Esentürk, O., (2020): Promoting physical activity for children with autism spectrum disorders during Coronavirus outbreak: benefits, strategies, and examples, International Journal of Developmental Disabilities, DOI: 10.1080/20473869.2020.1756115

Young Minds (2020) Coronavirus; the impact on young people with mental health needs, www.youngminds.org.uk

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