Catch-up programme for pupils to be announced – Friday 12 June 2020

This week I report on the announcement of a ‘catch-up’ programme for pupils to help with missed education due to the pandemic, the publication of some new guidance for schools to help identify gaps in understanding, planning a curriculum to teach at school and home and curriculum planning for a phased return; as well as information on two Schools NorthEast webinars and the announcement of extra mental health support for pupils and staff.

Catch-up operation for pupils to be announced
This week the Prime Minister promised catch-up activities over the summer for pupils who have missed education because of the coronavirus and the Education Secretary will provide information on this catch-up programme next week. The Prime Minister also suggested the programme would run after summer to help children with the work they had missed and would be an “educational catch up and economic bounce back at the same time”.

The DfE hasn’t yet confirmed if schools will be open during the summer break and if teachers will be expected to provide activities as part of the catch-up programme. The Prime Minister is under increasing pressure to publish a plan to get all pupils back to school in September.

Today the DfE has published some new guidance for schools on identifying and addressing gaps in pupils’ understanding, planning a curriculum to teach at school and at home and supporting staff in curriculum planning for a phased return, which you might find useful.

Schools NorthEast webinars
There are two free webinars for school staff (including governors) being offered by Schools NorthEast as follows:

  • Live Q&A with Ward Hadaway Law Firm on the wider opening of schools – Monday 15 June at 3.00pm: Graham Vials from Ward Hadaway will be delivering this webinar and will answer questions on topics including Risk Assessment, Staffing, Governance, PPE and Liability.  Register using this link.
  • Recruiting staff in schools through COVID-19 Lockdown and beyond – Wednesday 17 June at 2.00pm: Sarah Louise France-Gorton, Head of Resourcing Solutions at NYES will discuss how other schools have carried on with recruitment where possible, considering innovative and dynamic ways to recruit talent including virtual interview methods, platforms to use, task and assessment ideas, the future of recruitment and recruitment tips.  Register using this link.

Both webinars are free for school staff and £50+VAT for non-school delegates.

Extra mental health support for pupils and teachers
The DfE has announced new online resources designed by health and education experts will be provided to schools and colleges to boost mental health support for staff and pupils, encouraging them to talk more confidently about the anxieties and concerns they feel as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The DfE has confirmed grants worth more than £750,000 have been awarded to the Diana Award, the Anti-Bullying Alliance and the Anne Frank Trust to help build relationships between pupils, boost their resilience, and continue to tackle bullying both in person and online. As well as announcing a new £95,000 pilot project in partnership with the Education Support Partnership focusing on teachers’ and leaders’ mental health, providing online peer-support and telephone supervision from experts to around 250 school leaders.

The School Standards Minister has also written to members of the DfE’s Expert Advisory Group on education staff wellbeing, accepting its recommendations including a commitment to develop a wellbeing charter for the teaching sector. The charter will help create an open culture around wellbeing and mental health, breaking down stigma, and will include commitments from the Government to regularly measure staff wellbeing, and to embed this into training, guidance and policy making.