In this episode we hear from Sharon Gray, OBE. Sharon has extensive experience in all sectors of education, but especially in the field of Social, Emotional and Mental Health, (SEMH), and with students who could be described as ‘on the margins’.
Sharon provides a presentation that shares the approach and some of the work that is being done to support the recovery process across a family of schools in and around Derbyshire, led by the Embark Federation.
Sharon and the team at Embark have developed a Recovery Curriculum model, “Rising Strong”, that enables students in all age phases, to reconnect and re- build emotional resilience. The strategy developed never loses its focus on relationships at the heart of everything. The development of a Museum of Hope and Recovery. captures children’s experience of lockdown and reminds us all that we are survivors.
“There has never been a more crucial time to support our schools and equip our teachers, to build emotional resilience in our children & young people.The mental health of our children is eroding before our eyes, we need to bring back their SMILE. These are perfect resources for implementing a Recovery Curriculum.”
Professor Barry Carpenter, CBE, PhD. Professor of Mental Health in Education, Oxford Brookes University. (January 2020)
In this episode Professor Barry Carpenter interviews Beverley Cockbill, who has extensive experience of children with Complex Needs through her research and practice, especially in relation to the Engagement Model.
Bev describes how engagement is key to effective teaching and learning for this group of pupils, and how it provides a lens through which the teacher can guide the child to positive learning outcomes.
We hear from a leader in Special Education, Martin McKenna, currently Deputy Head of Palmerston School in Liverpool, and about to take up the Headship of Foxfield School on the Wirral.
Martin articulates his philosophy around interdisciplinary teamwork which has a shared focus on a personalised curriculum through a pedagogy rooted in Engagement. The Evidence for Learning app (EfL) is used to capture each pupil’s learning against their personalised goals.
In this episode Vijita Patel considers the strategic implementation of the Recovery Curriculum for her school, Swiss Cottage School, Development & Research Centre in London. She does this from a stance of compassionate leadership, with a clear focus on engagement in learning.
Her penetrating analysis shows how child need should inform organisational judgements, and that a constant focus should be the emotional well being of the child. A mutually respectful relationship with families as co educators, is vital at this time she says.
Oxford Brookes University, in partnership with SEBDA offers two online postgraduate certificate courses for professionals working with children and/or young people with social, emotional and mental health difficulties. Each course carries 60 credits at Masters level and we are currently taking applications for a September 2020 start.
Never has compassion in our schools been so crucial than at this current time, where phased re opening of schools is high on the National agenda. It is critical to restoring the emotional well being of our children, teachers, teaching assistants, and school leaders.
This article gives a good overview, and deepens understanding of, what compassion is, and how it might contribute to restoring our schools as mentally healthy places.
Dr Tina Rae endorses the Recovery Curriculum. Leading author, prolific writer and academic, famed for her Boxes series with NurtureUK, has endorsed the Recovery Curriculum
“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”