The key principles that underpin our advice on curriculum planning are:
Maintaining a broad, and ambitious curriculum as soon as possible will be critical to ensure that children are supported with their return to school and will enable children to develop and embed the knowledge and skills. An over-emphasised focus on English and mathematics is likely to have a limited impact.
Some consideration of curriculum focus will be necessary – for example increased teaching of PHSE for the first term and the removal of singing/music during this period for health and safety purposes. However, upon their return pupils at Appleby Primary School can be assured of the same guiding ethos that underpins the broad and ambitious curriculum we offer and that we are so proud of.
Plan on the basis of the educational needs of pupils: Curriculum planning should be informed by an assessment of pupils’ starting points and addressing the gaps in their knowledge and skills, in particular making effective use of regular formative assessment (for example, quizzes, observing pupils in class, talking to pupils to assess understanding, scrutiny of pupils’ work) while avoiding the introduction of unnecessary tracking systems.
We recognise that due to COVID-19 the majority of pupils in at Appleby Primary School will be returning following an unprecedented absence from school. To reflect this, a key focus of our work with children in the early part of the school year will be to assess pupils' pastoral and academic starting points through thorough rigorous formative assessment.
Plans are in place to ensure that additional specialist teaching support is focussed to ensure that gaps in learning for all pupils are addressed quickly and effectively.
The government recently announced that additional "catch-up" funding will be made available to schools from September. This will be utilised to ensure that every pupil is supported to thrive.
Schools should consider updating their behaviour policies with any new rules/policies, and consider how to communicate rules/policies clearly and consistently to staff, pupils and parents, setting clear, reasonable and proportionate expectations of pupil behaviour.
At Appleby Primary School our behaviour expectations of all pupils, staff and parents are consistent and high. An appendix to our behaviour policy is available within this additional guidance. We have also published alongside this a home school agreement which effectively communicates the expectations and commitment of all pupils, parents and staff.
Where a class, group or small number of pupils need to self-isolate, or there is a local lockdown requiring pupils to remain at home, we expect schools to have the capacity to offer immediate remote education. Schools are expected to consider how to continue to improve the quality of their existing offer and have a strong contingency plan in place for remote education provision by the end of September.
We have been very proud of the consistency and quality of the home learning provided to all pupils since school closed in March. We have seen pleasing levels of engagement from the overwhelming majority of pupils and families and we have learned many lessons throughout this period.
In September, we will share an updated format to support remote learning that we have provided to reflect both the positive response to home learning during school closure and updated expectations shared by the Department for Education.
During the case of an absence from school due to COVID-19 or a full or partial school closure, all pupils will be able to access learning and engage with their teachers daily from the first day of absence. Pupils will be taught how our revised system will operate upon their return to school and information and clear instructions will be provided to all families in September.