Recovery Curriculum

Recovery Curriculum


Post Lockdown 2020 and at the start of the academic year 2020 we implemented a recovery curriculum. This was based on the research of Dr Barry Carpenter who has written extensively on supporting pupils with complex learning needs and disabilities. The recovery curriculum acknowledges that there have been big losses to children as they have stayed at home and that these losses can contribute to pupil’s mental health with anxiety, trauma and bereavement playing a large role. It is significant that each of these three aspects will have impacted on children at once and in a sudden/ unplanned fashion leaving pupils vulnerable. They will also have been exposed to adults who are anxious and may not be acting in their normal way or maintaining the normal routines which they are used to.

It is acknowledged that children will have experienced loss in 5 key areas: routine, structure, friendship, opportunity and freedom. The recovery curriculum suggests 5 Levers of provision that will support children to overcome these: Relationships, Community, Transparent curriculum, metacognition and space.

These themes sit closely alongside our areas of the therapeutic learning plan which currently support pupils who have or are currently experiencing trauma.

These areas are:

  • relationships with teachers and peers;
  • the ability to self-regulate behaviours, emotions, and attention;
  • success in academic and non-academic areas;
  • Physical and emotional health and well-being.

We also know from research that children and adults have good mental health when they:

  • enjoy life
  • are able to cope with and ‘bounce back’ from stress and sadness
  • are able to set and fulfil goals
  • have the capability to build and maintain relationships with others.

Moving forward learning for all children will use this recovery curriculum approach. Our learning and provision was split into key areas with our focus on these areas when we considered teaching, planning and provision. These were reflected in our on – site learning and home learning with remote learning and social media themes reflecting our recovery curriculum themes. Our whole school topic in Summer 2020 had the theme “My wellbeing”.

Supporting me to build positive relationships with others

What will this area help pupils to learn?

Supporting pupils to rebuild relationships and re learn how to interact and build relationships with others including sharing, turn taking, greet and interact with others positively, play alongside and with peers, respond to my familiar and ne adults, seek adults to help, support and comfort me when I need them, know which adults help me and can support me to keep safe when I need them.

What this may look like

There will be opportunities within the day where the focus is on rebuilding relationships with peers and adults. This may be in the form of:

  • Independent learning to nurture parallel and joint play
  • Turn taking games and activities
  • Sharing games and activities
  • Intensive interaction opportunities using call and response games and songs.
  • Time where adults give sole attention to pupils re-building relationships
  • Games and activities where pupils can work together such as board games or outdoor PE games.
  • Safety work about who keeps us safe and who can keep us safe at school and at home and in the community.
  • Safety work about how adults can help us.
  • Activities that link to children’s interests to show we are interested in them.

How are we supporting pupils now our full curriculum is being offered in 2021-22?

Our social, emotional and mental health curriculum supports pupils to develop positive relationships and work with others and learn how to make positive choices, responding to boundaries and understanding what positive choices are. This includes all of the activities and learning aspects that were covered in this strand of supporting pupils to build positive relationships and it would look very similar.

Our R(s)E policy outlines how pupils are supporting to build their understanding of relationships in school and outlines what that may look like at each pre key stage standard.

Additionally pupils who may require additional support in this area are able to access personalised provision with the support of tools from the palatine toolbox which may support them including nurture groups, play therapies and targeted interventions based on assessments using the Boxhall profile or Curtis scale.

Supporting me to manage my feelings and behaviour

What will this area help pupils to learn?

Supporting pupils to understand their emotions and feelings and begin to process the experiences they have had. Supporting pupils to relearn some positive behaviour which they may have forgotten being outside of the school environment. Supporting pupils to engage with self-regulation strategies and tools which help me to feel safe and calm. Supporting pupils to understand the world we live in with tools and strategies to help them process what is different and what we can do to help.

What this may look like

There will be clear routines which are supported by visuals and clear communication which may include use of visual timetables so pupils know what is happening each day and at each part of the day. Some structures and boundaries may be different in school because of social distancing and processes related to this so some tools we will use are social stories and use of visuals to guide and support.

The structure will be supportive and provide opportunities within this that enables and allows pupils to express themselves and express the experiences they have had whilst they were not at school. We will do this by being clear with boundaries and using therapeutic approaches to supporting behaviour and emotions. We will also be using therapeutic tools to support pupils in communicating with us such as building in regular circle time, therapeutic play times, tools like sunshine circles and use of comic strip conversations.


There will be regular sessions where we explore and express emotions through what’s in the box using zones of regulation, using zones of regulation to open up discussions about emotions and circle time which will support pupils to explore their feelings as well as modelling processing and talking about feelings and emotions linked to this experience.


There will be regular opportunities for pupils to engage in self – regulation activities such as with sensory breaks, active breaks, and use of resources which support individuals. In addition there will be lots of opportunities for pupils to practise their communication so that they are able to feel like they have a voice and are able to express their wants and needs.

    How are we supporting pupils now our full curriculum is being offered in 2021-22?

    Our social emotional and mental health curriculum supports pupils to understand their feelings, being able to name them, recognise when they are feeling different emotions and learn strategies to support them in being able to regulate into a place where they are ready to learn. One of the tools we use to do this is through zones of regulation. Pupils are supported with tools which support them to regulate well during the day and are personalised to them. These include communication resources (such as timetables, now and next boards, symbols for reference and objects of reference, comic strip conversations and reward strips), sensory regulation tools (including sensory circuits, a sensory diet plan and use of some move, work, reward schedules), behaviour plans and support strategies which outline for adults how to support pupils displaying some challenging behaviour.

    Additionally pupils who may require additional support in this area are able to access personalised provision with the support of tools from the palatine toolbox which may support them including nurture groups, play therapies and targeted interventions based on assessments using the Boxhall profile or Curtis scale.

    Supporting me to enjoy and achieve

    What will this area help pupils to learn?

    Supporting pupils to have moments where they feel success and can engage in moments of enjoyment and achievement which may feel usual to being in school. This will be within pupil’s abilities and easily accessible recognising that when pupils have experienced trauma, their abilities to learn new concepts and be challenged is less. Pupils often use schemas of learning which they are familiar to explore when processing events in their lives and planned provision will focus on what is familiar. I.e. play provision that enables schematic exploration, familiar structures in the day like what’s in the box? Relaxation time, independent learning, hello and circle time, phonics.

    What this may look like

    We will use familiar curriculum type sessions that pupils will be used to that provide children with experiences that feel like “the norm”. Using what we know about schematic learning and how children process, this will look like familiar structured sessions in pupils day and opportunities to engage in play opportunities. We will be providing enjoyable activities which provide children with “fun” so that they can rejuvenate with positive endorphins and want to engage.

    Sessions which will feel familiar will be different for each learning hub and class group but ideas will be:

    • What’s in the Box
    • Hello times
    • Curriculum sessions that provide familiar structures (like phonics, maths, guided reading)
    • Independent learning where provision takes account of schematic learning.
    • ICT songs and learning on whiteboard where these are familiar
    • Outdoor play
    • Storytime

    Learning in these sessions will link to previous and current topic learning or children’s key interests and motivators. Children will have missed out on many opportunities being at home that they are naturally exposed to at school like peer play, active opportunities and experiences which develop their cognition and learning and these will be built into each day to support children to have a broad range of opportunity, experience and fun.

    How are we supporting pupils now our full curriculum is being offered in 2021-22?

    Our full curriculum offer enables all pupils to be able to enjoy and achieve using our topic themes and personal motivators which are exciting and provide a learning journey which is built to develop in complexity and breadth of learning for all pupils in all teaching and learning hubs. Pupils access learning in the four areas of need which are:

    Cognition and Learning which includes literacy, mathematics, understanding of the world, creativity and technology


    Sensory and Physical development which includes gross and fine motor skills and physical health and wellbeing

    Social, emotional and mental health development

    Learning in these 4 areas is represented in pupils learning timetables every week.

    Supporting my physical health and wellbeing

    What will this area help pupils to learn?

    Supporting pupils to re-engage with physical health and wellbeing routines as well as learn new routines which will support pupils to keep safe and enable infection control.   This will include hand washing, social distancing, understanding of new school routines as well as supporting pupils with their personal care and tolerating differences in these routines such as use of an alternative hygiene room facility or being supported in a different way for eating/ drinking. Supporting pupils to be independent through their own dressing and undressing where needed and supporting pupils to be physically well through active sessions, use of outdoor space and understanding about keeping physically well.


    What this may look like

    We will be planning in lots of time where children are able to explore and re-investigate their environments to become familiar with what might be different (i.e. one way systems in school, different markings in school, different access to resources in the classroom, some rooms which are closed) and understanding these differences will be supported with social stories, photos and pictures.

    Learning in supporting my physical health and well-being will focus on managing and coping within new processes keeping safe. This will include:

    • Understanding what is different about school and how to navigate this environment
    • Hand washing and hygiene measures
    • Adapting to using areas of the school that may not be usual and being in environment and with staff that are not usual.
    • Keeping and maintaining social distancing
    • Catch it, kill it, bin it messages
    • Health and hygiene sessions focusing on washing, being independent and looking after yourself.

    How are we supporting pupils now our full curriculum is being offered in 2021-22?

    Our sensory and physical development curriculum provides pupils with opportunities to learn about how to stay safe physically and enables learners to develop skills in managing their own health and wellbeing such as developing skills in using the toilet, broadening the range of foods children will eat, using tools to help in everyday life such as cutlery, and clothes fastening as well as learning about how to stay healthy and well through exploring themes of healthy eating, understanding about dangerous items at a level that is appropriate and learning about keeping clean and safe at a level that is appropriate. Pupils have continued access to a range of physical development opportunities through timetabled provision such as hydrotherapy and swimming, rebound therapy, physical development inside and out, the climbing wall and soft play areas. Our sports coaches further enhance our curriculum provision in this area provided targeted PE for some pupils, rebound and swimming coaching.

    Additionally some pupils who may require more support to develop their motor skills are supported using jump ahead programme which is overseen by one of our TA leadership team.

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