May 6, 2020
At the time of writing, there is no set date for schools to fully re-open, although there has been a lot of speculation in the press! In reality, schools have never actually been closed, they have been open for the children of key workers, providing pastoral and emotional support for families and providing remote learning. What we have been told, however, is that schools will be given at least 3 weeks’ notice to plan for a ‘re-open’, and this will most likely happen in phases.
The Covid- 19: Return to School Action Plan provides Heads and Senior Leaders with a checklist and guidance of what needs to be covered in order to plan for when schools fully return after the lockdown.
The plan has been written by Clive Davies who has vast experience in primary education spanning 40 years, having inspected over 200 schools and serving as a headteacher, Ofsted inspector, Local Authority adviser, trainer and consultant. During his headship years, his school gained a National Curriculum award and was featured in the Times Educational Supplement, one of three schools recognised for their quality practice. Awarded an OBE for Services to Education in 2009, he is one of the founding directors of Focus Education, set up over 20 years ago. He still works with schools on an advisory basis and is a highly sought-after keynote speaker at conferences both nationally and internationally.
The action plan covers a range of issues related to:
Pupil and staff wellbeing
Children’s experiences during lockdown
Re-establishing routines and expectations
Helping children move onto the next stage of their education depending on how and when schools return.
There will be a lot of questions, once a decision has been made on when and how schools re-open. At the forefront will be the focus on the wellbeing of the school community, there may be members of the community that have died and schools will need to provide bereavement and emotional support. Schools will still have staff shielding, and members of the school community will still have worries for their own safety as well as potentially financial worries and worries for wider family members. As well as covering issues and actions, the plan also contains a page of links to resources and charities that offer support for both staff and pupil wellbeing, as well as support for bereavement and counselling.
Pupils will all have had different experiences during lock down and will need time to re-adjust, for some school will have remained open and they will be living with key workers, others may have different sleeping and eating patterns, but for many, routines provide a sense of security,; although they may be looking forward to returning to school, they may find being around people difficult and even overwhelming. Rebuilding relationships will be key.
Remote/home learning will have looked different for every pupil in the school, building in time for children to share their experience of lockdown including providing them with a chance to showcase their learning at home that may not be part of the normal curriculum. It is also important to recognise that some children may not have done what has been set and some will have been through trauma. Providing space to talk will be vital for all members of the school community, reflecting on positive messages and acts of kindness that have also been shown and highlighted throughout this time.
"WOW! What an amazing document. It will be so good for Staff to read through in such a clear, succinct way."