Festival News: reflections on the recovery planning session with Sir David Carter.

Published: 30 September 2020
Stephen Betts (Learn Sheffield) reflects on a discussion about the development of a COVID Recovery Plan for the city with Sir David Carter.

Looking forwards: COVID recovery planning

Workshop discussion with Sir David Carter & Stephen Betts

The context for this discussion, in the final week of the festival, is Learn Sheffield's intention to take the learning from the festival and the first month of term to identify the key issues for schools and academies and plan support for the rest of the year. The COVID Recovery Plan will seek to bring together resources from different partners into one coherent support plan for Sheffield schools and academies.

I introduced the session by sharing some suggestions and topics (not an exhaustive list!) that have arisen:

  • Effective (evidence based) use of catch up funding and funding for tuition.
  • Remote or blended learning – contingency & capacity building
  • Mental Health and wellbeing – pupils, families and staff (remembering leaders).
  • Communicating effectively – school/ academy level and as a city.
  • Meeting additional and high needs in COVID safe schools.  
  • Supporting schools and academies sustainably – sharing of info/learning.
  • Identification and closing of gaps.
  • Recovery Curriculum development – supporting the components & providing quality assurance.
  • Supporting Governance.
  • Appropriate and effective professional development for staff.

Sir David then set the scene by revisiting the final three slides from his presentation earlier in the festival (Tuesday 15 September) which explored the features of effective collaboration. David recast them in the context of the next steps in this work and noted that this would involve both doing but also sharing. If schools and academies can routinely be critical users of each other’s work this brings clear benefits in facing the challenges ahead.

The discussion covered a variety of the topics above, including curriculum development, professional development (including performance management), remote learning and meeting the needs of pupils (including those with SEND needs, disadvantage, etc.). A commitment to the value of a curriculum with genuine breadth was a recurrent theme throughout the session.

Some of the ideas and possibilities that emerged in the session will form key parts of the recovery plan. The ability of a 'civic' organisation like Learn Sheffield to commission, access and develop content which schools can access (in particular to support professional development) can provide tangible benefits. 

Support for schools with remote learning will be crucial, both in terms of access to people who can support development and the development of resources. The discussion also highlighted the importance of improving our shared understanding of the teaching pedagogy in relation to developing learning remotely.

The brief discussion about the challenges of meeting the needs of all pupils within a COVID safe environment reminded us that we also need to consider how we build on existing resources – both to make sure that schools know where to seek support and also in developing existing plans for Sheffield to be a trauma-informed city.

This was an enjoyable and thought provoking discussion to participate in certainly provided a focus on the next stage of this work. I hope that colleagues find it interesting when the recording is added to the festival website shortly.

The Sheffield COVID Recovery Plan will be shared with the sector before half term, probably in the week beginning 19 October, and delivery will begin shortly after half term. If you have suggestions for the plan, of either areas to focus on or resources that are available, then please do get in touch!

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