With half-term a distant memory and most of the nation back in lockdown, children are once again getting used to new learning routines, adjusting to social distancing regulations and may even be doing some of their learning online at home.
Learning in a pandemic is a challenge for many pupils, and schools are doing all they can to ensure every child thrives in these strangest of times.
On the final day of our 10 day project to free up More Child-Time, we want to help you ensure pupils at your school catch up with any learning they may have missed and inspire your children to achieve all they are capable of this year.
More Child-Time actions
1. Don’t test, talk
There are some really quick and easy ways for teachers to monitor pupils’ progress and assess their wellbeing that save time and help ensure every child is ready to learn.
Take a softer approach to assessment
Launch a ‘softer assessment’ policy where teachers are encouraged to have regular conversations with individual pupils about how they feel they are getting on at school. This will not only create More Child-Time, it will also enable teachers to check on pupils’ emotional wellbeing.
A maths quiz or quick-fire question time on a specific topic such as mammals at the end of the school day is another great way for teachers to quickly spot any gaps in knowledge that can be recapped in the next lesson.
2. Harness pupil and parent power
Now is the time to unlock the power of your whole school community to help you drive learning forward.
Pupils and parents have an important role to play in helping you to shape successful strategies to close the achievement gap and ensure a happy, healthy school environment for all.
Engage the school council
Your school council is a valuable asset that can help you understand where to focus time, effort and resources to boost pupils’ achievement and support their wellbeing.
Take a look at the Smart School Councils Community website, where you will find a wealth of guidance on how to involve your pupils in decision-making and get the most from your school council.
Strengthen home-school links
Through the uncertainty of the next few months, ongoing engagement with parents and carers is crucial to ensuring pupils continue to flourish.
One way to do this is to provide parents with a selection of easy-to-use resources at home so they can support their child’s progress. The best ones are those linked to key national curriculum aims and those which support wellbeing.
If you want something more structured, we have produced a set of over 100 resources available offline and online to help you build stronger home-school links. The collection gives you a flexible and cost-effective way to help parents support their children’s progress from the kitchen table. Find out more here.
3. Bring the world to the classroom
School visits are not possible at the moment, but you can bring the curriculum to life in other ways.
A museum in pupils’ hands
Your library or book corner is a way to extend learning and develop imaginations. Carefully curated fiction and non-fiction books bring a subject to life and most children will devour any text on a subject they are interested in.
Podcasts should not be forgotten as children learn without realising it while developing their vocabulary and storytelling skills. The You’re Dead to Me show is a favourite.
There are some great online walks through history courtesy of the social media teams at many of the UK’s historical buildings, including this great wander through Henry VIII’s Hampton Court.
Schools in Essex, Hertfordshire and Suffolk can also take advantage of our Artefact Loan Boxes which can bring the museum into your classroom and give children of all ages the opportunity to see, touch and use historical and cultural objects that they would not otherwise get the chance to connect with right now.
You can recreate the experiences of people who lived through the Great Fire of London using replicas of the tableware and currency of the time. Or get pupils to re-enact the life, sport and experiences of the ancient Greeks with the help of a Greek soldier’s helmet or personalised athlete’s discus.
If you are not in one of these geographies, please do get in touch so we can see how our fantastic bank of resources could be made available to you.
Schools across the country have truly stepped up to the plate to ensure that every child gets the support they need to make good progress – academically and emotionally.
By using some of the time-saving tips we have shared, your school will emerge from the current crisis stronger than ever as more time becomes available to spend focused on children.
Thank you for participating in our 10 day More Child-Time Project.
If you would more information on how Juniper Education can continue to support your school, please get in touch.