There has been a buzz of excitement in the air at Appleby Primary School today as ITV Border News have been visiting to prepare a piece for our local news programme about an innovative initiative taking place here at Appleby.
In preparing to reopen school to all pupils in September this year, we have taken time to carefully consider a recovery curriculum which both interests and inspires pupils whilst also addressing the needs of every child returning to school in the midst of a global pandemic and an unprecedented period of absence. In line with the latest research carried out by the Education Endowment Foundation we have adopted a tiered approach in developing our bespoke 'Recovery Curriculum'. This approach is aimed to ensure that we are able to continue to deliver high quality teaching of a rich and deep curriculum whilst logistically ensuring a rigorous system of control measures to protect pupils, staff and families. Alongside this is a targeted programme of academic support, structured intervention, small group tuition and one-to-one tutoring based upon accurate diagnostic assessment. The third tier comprises wider strategies aimed at sustaining engagement, reinforcing positive behaviours and promoting positive mental health and wellbeing.
A key element of our Tier Three planning has really captured the imagination and enthusiasm of pupils and sparked interest from the media. At the start of September we were approached by colleagues at the Outward Bound Trust to be part of an innovative outreach project which would enable the Trust's teams of specialist outdoor educators to work with schools to support pupils to develop the skills they need to face an ever-changing world and to address some of the emotional uncertainties of the last few months.
Current government restrictions mean that schools are presently unable to engage with the sort of overnight residential visits associated with the Outward Bound Trust and consequently a significant number of outdoor educators have been furloughed and are unable to return to work at this time. The innovative initiative which is being piloted in only a handful of schools nationwide is heavily subsidised by the Trust themselves and sees outdoor educators based in school to develop and deliver a specialist programme of activities and experiences on site.
Pupils have thoroughly enjoyed a wide range of games and challenges led by Craig Henderson and Ryan McGlen who are usually based at the Outward Bound Trust at Watermillock, Ullswater. Whilst being enormously fun and engaging, sessions have been purposely designed to develop positive behaviours that will promote children's rapid and sustained progress in the classroom. Children have learned to develop the socialisation and teamwork skills alongside building resilience, perseverance and their ability to solve problems practically and creatively. Not only that but the sessions, held in our amazing outdoor environment, have a significant impact in promoting both positive mental and physical health and wellbeing. It has been particularly satisfying that teachers are already reporting the positive benefits of the project on children's attitudes for learning and work produced in class.
The spectacle of having television cameras in school was certainly not lost on our children who were thrilled to be filmed during one of their sessions this morning. Not only that but four pupils also had the opportunity to be interviewed by ITV Border's Lake District Reporter, Fiona Marley Paterson. The four children, two boys and two girls, were all fantastic ambassadors for our school and talked with real passion about their enjoyment of sessions with Craig and Ryan.
The news piece is expected to be aired on ITV Border News on Monday or Tuesday next week.