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Westgate Primary School

We Teach, We Learn, We Care


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Westgate Recovery Curriculum

The Westgate Primary School Recovery Curriculum


As a school, we thought carefully about what a curriculum should look like for our children when they returned after the school closures, brought into action following the Covid-19 pandemic. We implemented a “recovery curriculum” which acknowledged that there had been big losses to children as they have stayed at home and that these losses could contribute to pupil’s mental health with anxiety, trauma and bereavement playing a large role. Children had  experienced these aspects all at once and in a sudden and unplanned fashion which had left them feeling vulnerable.  

As a school, we were also very mindful of the impact this pandemic had on our children's attainment and progress. This new recovery curriculum was designed to support our children's transition back into school so that they were able to make accelerated progress in class.


Our recovery curriculum has been structured around 4 areas:


1) Supporting our children to build positive relationships with others

Many of our children required support to rebuild their strong relationships they once had in school. Many needed to re-learn how to interact in class, take turns and share, problem solve, seek help from an adult when it was needed.  

To support this area, our curriculum:

- built in opportunities to develop turn taking and sharing. 

- provided children with independent learning opportunities to develop joint play

- ensured adults built in opportunities to give sole attention to pupils to rebuild relationships. 

- built in PSHE opportunities to explore which adults in school keep us safe, and how they do that. 



2) Supporting our children to manage their feelings and behaviours

Many of our children experienced emotions and feelings that they may not have had in the past. Our recovery curriculum supported pupils to relearn the positive behaviour they may have forgotten outside the school environment and equipped our children with self-regulation strategies to help them feel safe and calm. 

To support this area, our curriculum:

- built around clear routines and communication for all children

- built in opportunities for children to express themselves and share their experiences during the school closures. 

- made use of clear behaviour expectations, focused wholly on our behaviour policy. 

- built in tools to support children in communication, such as circle time, mindfulness sessions and therapeutic play times. 



3) Supporting our children to enjoy school and make excellent progress

We wished for all of our children to experience once again the many moments of success and achievement in school. This learning was within our children's abilities and sat alongside an understanding that potential trauma experienced by our children during the school closures may impact on our children's ability to learn in the near future. Despite this, we built in new learning opportunities that looked like familiar structured sessions that the children were used to (such as phonics, maths, guided reading etc.) so that our children could rejuvenate with the feeling of success and the desire to engage and achieve. 


To support this area, our curriculum:

- provided sessions that will be familiar to our children

- provided opportunities for our children to engage in some independent learning

- made use of resources that our children are familiar with (such as knowledge organisers and word mats for example).



4) Supporting our children's physical health and well-being

We understood that many of our children would need to re-engage with physical health and well-being routines, whilst also learning new routines to keep themselves and others safe with regards to infection control. As a school, we introduced a great number of safety measures and rules that our children had to adhere to. We took the necessary time to explain these changes to our children and the reasons for their introduction. We reiterated to our children that keeping them safe at all times was our number one priority. 

To support this area, our curriculum:

- included sessions that explore how school life and the learning environment was different to how it used to be.

- taught children explicitly about hand washing and hygiene practice

- ensured all children were clear on the new expectations in school and that they knew where to go if they had any questions or concerns. 

Additional PSHE sessions

Each of our year groups additionally received discrete PSHE lessons on various topics related to coronavirus and the impact it had on our society. These topics include:

- Feeling Safe

- Reconnecting with friends and school

- Keeping Healthy (hygiene and hand washing)

- Dealing with worries/anxiety

- Gratitude and appreciation/ Positive thinking

- Loss and bereavement

Establishing a Baseline

Additionally, we carried out careful assessments of our children with regards to their academic progress. We understand that our children's experiences during the home-learning period may vary from one individual to another. With that in mind, we ensured that our curriculum matched the needs of our children, using teacher assessments in class, and planning to address any gaps that are discovered. 

Staffing Structure

We made changes to our staffing structure for the 2020/21 academic year. Staff kept the same class for 2020-21 if that was possible and the first four weeks of the new academic year were structured to allow settling back into the routines of school, whilst re-establishing a baseline for the children so that we could work quickly to address any gaps.

Returning to School Action Plan

Recovery Curriculum Outline