The HOA delivered a Recovery Seminar, Wednesday 3 March 2021, to provide an opportunity for trusts, schools and other partners in Hastings and East Sussex to share good practise on current work to support learning recovery in schools.

Keynote speaker Barry Carpenter OBE CBE, Professor of Mental Health in Education, Oxford Brookes University, delivered a speech based on the Think Piece – ‘A Recovery Curriculum: Loss and Life for our children and schools post pandemic’.

At the start of the global pandemic, Barry became very concerned about the impact of the crisis on the mental health of children. With his son, Matthew, Principal of Baxter College, Worcestershire, he wrote the Recovery Curriculum Think Piece (www.recoverycurriculum.org). To date this has had over 250,000 hits on the host websites, and has guided many schools, agencies and government departments,  in planning for the post-pandemic recovery and resilience of their children.

The event was well attended by head teachers and strategic partners from Hastings and across East Sussex. It forms part of an ongoing recovery programme to support pupils who have experienced significant learning loss or who will struggle to engage with schools, due to Covid19. The HOA team will continue working with trusts and schools to review learning from the programmes and ensure that this is shared effectively with others to maximise impact.

Hastings trusts and schools provided examples of the HOA-funded work implemented to support children’s re-engagement with learning during the pandemic. These included:

  • University of Brighton Academy Trust schools are tackling reading regression in identified students through a whole trust approach using Accelerated and Expert Reader to help children who have fallen below expectation with their reading. They have introduced a trust-wide programme to improve mental health support, working with teachers to recognise and support emerging mental health and wellbeing.
  • Ark Academy Trust schools, including Ark Alexandra Academy and Ark Little Ridge Primary Academy, have used additional funding to employ a Graduate Teaching Assistant in each school. The teaching assistants provide small group catch-up work for students who have fallen behind in maths and literacy. The Graduate Teaching Assistants have made a great impression with the students, building strong supportive relationships.
  • Sandown school has used additional funding to extend their school day, providing extra catch-up sessions for children focussed on maths, literacy, transition, and supporting emotional wellbeing and anxiety. Early reports indicate attendance is good, with strong engagement from the children who are enjoying the additional sessions and support.
  • The Diocese of Chichester Academy Trust schools; including All Saints CE Junior Academy, St Leonards CE Primary Academy, Christ Church CE Primary Academy and St Pauls CE Primary Academy, have recruited a counsellor to support children with emerging mental health needs identified following the Covid-19 restrictions. The counsellor will work for one day a week in each school.
  • In addition, HOA are supporting schools county-wide, providing additional funding to support programmes aimed at ‘Closing the Achievement Gap’ which has widened due to the impact of Covid-19. These programmes include; engaging Graduate tutors for catch-up, providing Senior Leadership Team with release time in order to track, plan and support teachers; bespoke, supported interventions with a focus on literacy and numeracy; learning software; breakfast catch up clubs; and bespoke training from Durrington Research School on evidence-based approaches.

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