“So much has been said about catch-up – or education recovery, to use the language that sits more comfortably with the sector. Plans were hatched and then scaled back. New ideas are still being floated ahead of the next spending review. But as I’ve consistently said, for most children, most catching up will happen in their usual classroom with their usual teachers.
The magic of teaching – imparting knowledge, developing skills and building confidence – will mostly happen where it always happens. We should not let the pressure to fill learning gaps bend what schools and colleges do out of shape.
Broadening minds, enriching communities and advancing civilisation is still exactly what’s needed from our schools." (Amanda Spielman, HM Chief Inspector of Schools June 2021)
Parents have been understandably concerned about areas of the curriculum pupils did not learn because of Covid restrictions, including isolating classes and school closure.
What teaching did we provide during lockdown?
Most pupils in our school will not have experienced very much ‘lost learning’ as a result of isolating pupils or school closure.
Since September 2020, the school has provided a full timetable of remote learning for pupils isolating at home due to whole class isolation, including all pupils in the school during the national lockdown from January 5th – March 5th 2021. Teachers taught 3 x one-hour live lessons online every day: one daily English lesson (including daily phonics); one daily maths lesson and one other subject each day so that RE, science, history, geography, PSHCE and Spanish were taught weekly. The rest of the day is timetabled from 9am to 3pm with directed tasks – e.g. additional online reading and comprehension, number skills, physical exercise, computing, music and assemblies.
The school provided Chromebooks to all pupils who needed one to access remote lessons. As a result, all pupils attended remote learning.
Identifying areas of the curriculum that children missed during lockdown
Due to the high-quality live lessons taught daily to all children, there are not many areas of the curriculum that children missed. Assessment shows that most children reached the end of year expected standards.
Prior to all children returning to school on 8th March, the Head of School met each class teacher to identify areas of the curriculum that needed further teaching to enable children to meet the end of year expected standards.
Immediate response for all pupils when school reopened after the lockdown
Reading: Children in Reception and Key Stage 1 read at least twice per day with an adult in school – in Phonics lessons and Guided Reading sessions.
Writing: Children had fewer opportunities to write at length during lockdown. Children now plan and complete extended writing every week, as part of the usual English curriculum.
Maths: All units of Number were prioritised to be taught, practised and consolidated by the end of the year, including opportunities to problem solve and reason with number regularly.
PE: Children had fewer opportunities to exercise outside led by a teacher during lockdown. Children took part in daily 30 minutes of teacher-led physical exercise outside in addition to organised active games during playtimes. Pupils have now returned to the full PE curriculum.
Music: Children did not have music lessons live taught by the teacher during lockdown. The full music curriculum is now taught weekly by the music teacher in school as usual.
Art: Children did not have art lessons live taught weekly by the teacher during lockdown. The art curriculum is now taught weekly in school as usual.
Science and maths: Children had fewer opportunities to practise the practical elements of science and maths eg measuring and investigations during remote education. Children now apply their learning in practical areas of maths and science as part of the usual curriculum.
Computing: Children did not have computing lessons live taught by a teacher during lockdown. The full computing curriculum is now taught as usual.
Design and technology: Children did not have design and technology lessons during lockdown. The design and technology curriculum is now taught as blocked days as usual.
Food technology: Children did not have food technology lessons during lockdown. The food technology curriculum is now taught as blocked days as usual.
What catch-up do we provide for pupils who experienced some ‘lost learning’?
Upon returning to school following the lockdown, teachers immediately assessed pupils. Where pupils are identified as having areas of ‘lost learning’, the school provides targeted booster tuition lessons after school for small groups.
If you’d like to see the impact of this, please see our page on the Covid Catch-up Premium 2020-21.
This year, the school will continue to provide targeted booster tuition lessons after school for small groups of pupils. In addition, targeted pupils will receive 1:1 tuition or 1:3 small group tuition.