Launching – ‘The Recovery Curriculum.’

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How will it be for children when they return to school? It would be naive to think that they will pick up where they left off on the day their school went into lock down.

We have been analysing the loss children have suffered during this time, and the potential anxiety and trauma it may cause, with significant impact on their ability to learn effectively.

We have built the construct of a Recovery Curriculum, enabling schools to consider the processes they will need to put in place to successfully transition children back to school. As the word ‘construct’ suggests, this is a process of building, of co -constructing, a curriculum that is responsive to the needs of children, that harvests their experience and makes sense of it emotionally as well as cognitively.

In the coming weeks six school leaders will discuss their responses to the implications of a Recovery Curriculum in their school setting ( Primary, Secondary, and Special) In particular the pedagogy, resources and also the mental health of the children, will be considered. This podcast series will be available on: https://www.evidenceforlearning.net/recoverycurriculum

More details will be posted in the coming days.

We hope you find this thought provoking and insightful.

Stay well – stay strong.

Barry Carpenter
Professor of Mental Health in Education,
Oxford Brookes University

Matthew Carpenter
Principal, Baxter College, Kidderminster

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4 thoughts on “Launching – ‘The Recovery Curriculum.’”

  1. A recent survey undertaken by the charity Young Minds in March 2020 revealed that the current coronavirus pandemic is having a profound effect on young people with existing mental health conditions. Although they understood the need for the measures taken in response to the virus, the report says, this did not lessen the impact. Many of those who took part in the survey reported increased anxiety, problems with sleep, panic attacks or more frequent urges to self-harm.
    We know that the impact upon all of us is significant and for those who already have mental health issues the on-going sense of fear and anxiety this is especially concerning. The sense of uncertainty and the transition to a new and insecure reality and ways of living will continue to impact upon all of us – adults and children alike.
    The need to understand the impact of such trauma on the whole community has never been more vital. Although young people in this survey were able to identify some of the factors that they found helpful in a time of trauma, we recognised that there will be an on-going need for us all to develop and make use of trauma informed approaches in the aftermath of this pandemic. Children and young people will need to find and build upon their inner resources of resilience and adults will need to do likewise alongside learning how to talk to them about their fears and to do so in a therapeutic way which enable them to heal and to cope in their new reality.
    The on-going concern
    We know that our children and young people who already have existing mental health issues will be finding the current lockdown experience particularly stressful and increased levels of anxiety will be the norm. However, it is probably also the case that every child will be experiencing higher levels of stress and anxiety at this time and that when they do eventually return to the school context there will enormous emotional and psychological hurdles to overcome. The need to provide support for increased levels of anxiety and managing the transition to a ‘new normal’ will be on-going.
    Never has there been a time when knowing how to manage your own well-being and how to support our children in doing this has been so vital.
    This is why we need the Recovery Curriculum in every school across the country. This will be an essential element in ensuring that children and young people and the adults in every school community can safely return to the school context during this on-going pandemic. The Recovery Curriculum identifies the need for compassionate and trauma informed leadership at this time which oversees the development of curricula which therapeutically meets individual needs. This will be a new and more humane and compassionate approach which addresses the embeds the essential elements of relationship, community, transparent curriculum, metacognition and space.
    Without such an approach we will not be able to effectively support our traumatised school communities and be able to build a new and more nurturing approach into the ‘new normal’.
    As a psychologist working with traumatised children and young people and their carers, I fully endorse this approach and hope that every school in the UK ensures that it is adopted and put in place at the earliest opportunity.
    Dr Tina Rae
    27.4.20.

  2. Would love to know more about this even to be involved in moving forward planning for the future. Barry Carpenter was a lecturer of mine at Westminster College, Oxford. Very Inspirational, also spoke a lot of common sense based on his experiences both professionally and personally.

  3. A Community of Practice , to exchange and develop ideas has been set up on http://www.recoverycurriculum.org
    On May 1st a podcast will be launched there , which is a powerpoint version of the Recovery Curriculum Think Piece , with Professor Carpenter speaking to the slides. We hope this will facilitate staff training on line in these uncertain times.Further podcasts are being recorded and will be made available on that website. Links to these podcasts will also be posted on barrycarpentereducation.com

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