As a school, our “motto” is ‘be the best you can be’ and this is underpinned by our three “responsibilities” to be ready, respectful and safe at all times. This motto, these shared responsibilities and our three core values (learning, laughter and love) have guided our planning for the return to school. As a result, we identified three clear priorities for focusing our efforts and energies once our children returned.
By continually focusing our attention and energies on these 3 components, we believe everyone will be successful:
- Our children will feel reconnected to their peers and the adults that support them.
- Our children will be ‘experts’ in the various safety routines and procedures.
- Our children will be engaged in their learning and making individually appropriate progress.
As a school, we have 3 core values; we value learning, we value laughter and we value love. In welcoming our children back to school, we decided that LOVE needed to be our first priority. Being away from class mates and teachers for over 140 days was going to have an impact on our children. So, we agreed right at the start that reconnecting with our peers and our teachers was the most important thing. We gave time to talk and to play. We needed to feel connected again as we set about introducing new routines.
The numerous safety measures that we introduced needed numerous new routines built around them to make them work. So, within the security and comfort of reconnected relationships, we set about ensuring our children were familiar with and experts in a number of routines.
- Classes operate and exist in ‘bubbles’, ensuring reduced risk of transmission between pupils.
- Regular hand washing or sanitising, with 2 ‘sanitising stations’ in each classroom.
- Ventilated classrooms, with windows open all day.
- Staggered break times, ensuring plenty of time outdoors but with each class having a dedicated playground zone.
- Extra cleaning throughout the day.
Such routines, once mastered, enable us all to refocus on our core business – that of learning.
Having the children back to school means we can fully support them with their learning. Given the long period of absence and the varying levels of engagement with home learning, we are following a bespoke ‘recovery curriculum’ that ensures every child re-engages with learning and reconnects with the core concepts and ideas we need to explore. This focused curriculum continues to be our foundation during the ongoing pandemic.