Advice for Primary School Leaders: How to Minimise the Impact of School Closures on Children’s Learning

Table of Contents

Teaching and Learning in the Summer Term

The summer term is important and teachers will want to do all they can to get children’s learning back on track as soon as possible to minimise the gaps that will, undoubtedly, appear.

  • How can you organise your curriculum to continue to provide teaching for your children – face-to-face for those you have in school and online for those at home?
  • Could your teachers record 10-15 minutes of ‘live’ teaching to introduce subject content and support the work being sent home?
  • Exploring the BBC Teach resources to supplement your teachers’ online teaching.
  • Thinking of ways that you can contact your pupils – they’ll be missing you!

Mapping to, and Tracking, the Early Learning Goals and Primary National Curriculum Subject Content

You can continue to map your adjusted summer term curriculum to the Early Learning Goals and Primary National Curriculum subject content as you would do normally and continue to track children’s progress with your tracking system. This will enable you to analyse for gaps in learning so that they can be tackled over the coming term. It will also help you plan your focus for teaching when schools reopen.

  • Could your teaching assistants record 10-15 minutes of personalised support aimed at individual children who are struggling with particular concepts to support the work being sent home by the teachers?
  • Follow up with some ‘homework’ to reinforce their learning and help them stay on track.
  • Mapping your summer term curriculum to the Early Learning Goals and Primary National Curriculum subject content.

Standards and Assessment

Although the 2019/20 national curriculum assessments have been cancelled, it is still important that children get back on track to reach the expected standard so that they are ready for their next stage of education. It seems sensible to assume that the standards expected in the EYFS Assessment and Reporting Arrangements, Key Stage 1 Teacher Assessment Frameworks and Key Stage 2 Teacher Assessment Frameworks will not be lower in 2020/2021 than before. This means supporting your children to reach the standards that would have been assessed in if they had been at school. The lack of statutory testing means that your teacher assessments are really important and internal moderation is critical to ensure that these teacher assessments are accurate.

  • Could you organise remote internal moderation sessions to see what that standard of your children’s work is? A virtual staff meeting will bring your teachers together to talk about education which will support their wellbeing.
  • Could you use questions from past test papers or any standardised tests you use to assess your children’s knowledge?
  • Including tasks that you can use for assessment, questions from past test papers or standardised tests, or and short quizzes to test knowledge. Our partner Learning By Questions is offering 60 days free full access their paid-for features.
  • Using your tracking system to record your teacher and other assessments to keep an eye on where any gaps are appearing and for which children.
  • Taking advantage of Juniper Education’s standardisation training to make sure that your teacher assessments are accurate.

Vulnerable Children and Those from Disadvantaged Backgrounds

It is likely to be vulnerable children and those from disadvantaged backgrounds who return to school with the most gaps.

  • Continuing to contact families who aren’t engaging to offer them support in continuing their children’s learning, finding out if they have any barriers and seeing how you can support them.
  • Looking at approaches to accelerated learning and interventions that you already use in preparation for when schools reopen. You’ll know which children to focus on through how much they have engaged during the school closures and your tracking data. Remember that there are likely to be more children than usual that need this help and you may need to adjust your staffing accordingly. Juniper Education will be running CPD on accelerated learning and interventions in the summer term.
  • Using Juniper Education’s curriculum grids to support teachers to assess gaps in the key areas of learning that pupils require in order to move to the next year group.

Parental Reporting

Schools have a statutory duty to prepare annual reports for parents before the end of the summer term which covers each child’s achievements, general progress and attendance record. So far we have not been told that this requirement has been withdrawn. It is likely that parents will want to know that their work to continue their children’s education at home have not been wasted.

  • Using your tracking data from your teaching and learning (remote or face-to-face) to make informed judgements about attainment and progress, but remember that you’ll be unable to supply any comparative data.
  • Being careful not to overinflate children’s attainment – this will be counterproductive in the long term.
  • Emphasising the positives as well as areas of focus for next term – parents have often been working while supporting their children’s education.

Staff Professional Development

You are likely to have staff that are not working on the day-to-day delivery of teaching and learning for your children.

  • Can your staff use their time to brush up on areas of the curriculum or other aspects of school life?
  • You could run virtual staff meetings to engage those staff who aren’t on the premises in school life and maintain community spirit.
  • Encouraging staff to undertake CPD to broaden their subject and pedagogical knowledge or knowledge of other aspects of school life. Juniper Education has an extensive menu of online CPD which is updated regularly, so keep checking back to see if there is something new which is appropriate for your staff:
    • Our full range of face-to-face courses are now being delivered online by our team of experienced advisers – you can find them on Juniper Education’s CPD Website.
    • Our App Bundles provide mobile learning for all school staff – find out more here.
    • Our tracking systems are offering a range of webinars to refresh or update your knowledge – find out more here.
  • Tasking your Subject Leaders with reviewing their curriculum area to make sure that your school is Deep Dive. You can find support for this on Juniper Education’s CPD Website.
Topics in this article:
Don't forget to share this article!
Related Articles:
Education Resources Service - Artefact Loan Boxes
Curriculum & Assessment
Juniper Education

How to Use Artefacts in the Classroom

Here at Juniper Education, we help bring the museum to your classroom with our artefact loan box collections. In this blog post, we will look at the benefits of handling artefacts in the classroom and how our Education Resource Services can help you bring learning to life in an exciting and memorable way. 

Read More »