Highfield Primary School

Consideration Aspiration Responsibility Enjoyment

Bridgenorth Avenue, Urmston, Manchester, M41 9PA


0161 748 6096

 September 2020

As our children return to school, we feel it is important for you to be aware of the approach that we are taking to support their transition back and to aid re-engagement in the learning process.

Highfield have put the child’s well-being at the centre of our thinking about what a curriculum might look like for children returning to school and have used some guidance from a researcher* of education for children with complex learning needs and difficulties to help us with this. 

*Professor Barry Carpenter, CBE is Professor of Mental Health in Education at Oxford Brookes University. Below is a link to his podcast on the Recovery Curriculum.




Loss and Life for our Children and Schools Post Pandemic

We will be implementing a ‘recovery curriculum’ which acknowledges that children will have had different experiences during this time and the common thread running through all is ‘loss’. The loss of routine, structure, friendship, opportunity and freedom; and that these losses can contribute to pupil’s mental health with anxiety, trauma and bereavement playing a large role. Children will perhaps have experienced some or all of these aspects of loss in a sudden and unplanned fashion which can leave them feeling vulnerable and can trigger anxiety. Parents may have experienced this as well.  

We know that an anxious child is not in a place to learn effectively.   So with this in mind, we have thought about the most effective way to support your child’s ability to learn and transition back to school.  This approach will encompass and support the academic expectations for your child as well as support positive mental health and well-being.

We also acknowledge that many children and families will have had positive experiences during this time and will be encouraging children to share these experiences too.  


1. Supporting me to build positive relationships with others

How will this help me to learn?

Supporting children to rebuild relationships and relearn how to interact and build relationships with others including:

·      sharing, turn taking, active listening,

·      greeting and interacting with others positively,

·      playing alongside and with peers,

·      how to seek adults to help, support and comfort me when I need them,

·      know which adults can help me and can support me to keep safe when I need them.

The Highfield family - children will have a sense of belonging: to feel safe, secure and happy in school. This will better enable learning and positive experiences in school. They will feel a part of their class as well as a part of the school community. A strong sense of belonging supports positive learning and experiences

What that 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:

·      Revisiting, modelling and promoting our CARE motto.

·      Revisiting and regular reminders of our mantra ‘Ready, Respectful, Safe’.

·      Independent learning to nurture parallel and joint play.

·      Learning new ways of playing – e.g. socially-distanced games.

·      Turn taking games and activities.

·      Sharing games and activities.

·      Intensive interaction opportunities using call and response games and songs.

·      Time where adults can 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 - who can keep us safe at school, at home and in the community.

·      Safety work about how adults can help us.

·      Key adult check-ins.

·      Activities that link to children’s interests to show we are interested in them.

·      Writing letters to people in care homes to build new connections


2. Supporting me to manage my feelings and behaviour

How will this help me to learn?

Supporting children to:

·         Understand their emotions and feelings and begin to process the experiences they have had.

·         Relearn some positive behaviour which they may have been forgotten being outside of the school environment.

·         Engage with self-regulation strategies and tools which help them to feel safe and calm.

·         Understand the world we live in with tools and strategies to help them process what is different and what we can do to help.

·         Develop a growth mindset to become resilient learners.

·         Have optimism, hope and gratitude - this increases dopamine and decreases cortisol to feel good and enable learning to take             place


What that may look like

·         Revisiting, modelling and promoting our CARE motto.

·         Revisiting and regular reminders of our mantra ‘Ready, Respectful, Safe’.

·         A calm classroom.

·         All staff will use Emotion Coaching techniques to support behaviour/emotional understanding.

·         Scheduled time to complete a grounding activity at the beginning of the school day, such as a shared story, news or circle                    time.

·         Relentless routines -  Clear and consistent  routines which are supported by visuals and clear, simple communication which                  may include use of visual timetables so children 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. We will use a range of tools to                          support children; some examples include social stories and visuals.

·         Opportunities that enable and allow children to express themselves and share the experiences they have had whilst they were            not at school. We will do this by being clear with boundaries and using approaches to support behaviour and emotions. We                 will also be using tools to support pupils in communicating with us such as building in regular circle time, pupil passports,                    worry boxes, SCARF (PSHE) curriculum, key adults and emotion coaching.

·         Allow opportunities for children to reflect, talk and ask questions about what has happened.

·         Opportunities for children to engage in self – regulation activities. Some examples may include: sensory breaks, active breaks,              quiet breaks and the use of resources which support individuals. In addition there will be lots of opportunities for children 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.

·         Key adult check-ins.

·         Emotional Literacy work (individual and small group sessions)

·         Children Support with labelling their emotions e.g. by using an emotions map/mat.

·         Communication and involvement with parents. (incl survey of lockdown experience)

·         Mindfulness activities


3. Supporting me to enjoy and achieve

How will this help me to learn?

Supporting children to have moments where they feel success and can engage in moments of enjoyment and achievement.  As a school we recognise that when children have experienced trauma their ability to learn new concepts and be challenged may be less. We will aim to personalise provision to ensure that emotional needs are met; enabling positive learning experiences to take place successfully.

Encouraging a growth mindset - our abilities can be increased through the application of effort and a positive attitude. 

Metacognition and self-regulation approaches  aim to improve learning by getting learners to think about their own learning more explicitly so as to take increased responsibility for their own achievement.

Promoting self-efficacy - the belief we have in our own abilities, specifically our ability to meet the challenges ahead of us and complete a task successfully.

Helping children to reflect on the positive changes that have come about as a result of this crisis (perhaps for them as individuals, but also for their families, communities, the country and the world as a whole)


What that may look like

We will use familiar sessions and formats that children will be used to, providing them with experiences that feel like ‘the norm’. Visual timetables will continue to be in place in all classes to reinforce the return to the structure of a school day.  We will be providing enjoyable activities which provide children with ‘fun’ so that they can rejuvenate with positive endorphins and so that they will want to engage.


·         Basic Skills

·         Curriculum sessions that provide familiar structures (like phonics, maths, reading)

·         P.E.

·         Outdoor play

·         Outdoor learning

·         Practical learning activities

·         Storytime

·         Kagan’s structures: talking partners, shoulder partners etc

·         Language of learning – e.g. butterfly best

·         Learning in these sessions will link to previous and current theme 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.

·          Opportunities that encourage children to take part in decision making where possible.

·          New responsibilities allocated within new class groups.

·          Children’s work being displayed – showing a sense of belonging and encouraging children to feel proud of their                                        achievements.

·          A focus on what CAN be done.

·          Encouraging the children to practice gratitude and reflect on the positives in their everyday experiences, no matter how                       small.

·          Communication and involvement with parents. (incl survey of lockdown experience)


4. Supporting my physical health and well-being

How will this help me to learn?

There is a proven link between pupils' health and well-being, and their academic progress. Supporting pupils to re-engage with physical health and well-being routines as well as learn new routines which will support pupils to keep safe and enable infection control.


What that may look like?

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 to support 'my physical health and well-being' will focus on managing and coping within new processes to help children stay 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 ‘as usual’.

·        Keeping and maintaining social distancing.

·        ‘Catch it, bin it, kill it’ messages.

·        Health and hygiene sessions focusing on washing, being independent and looking after yourself.

·        Supporting young children to be independent through their own dressing and undressing where needed and when opening             food items from their lunch boxes.

·        Supporting children to be physically well through active sessions, use of outdoor space and understanding about keeping                     physically well.

·        Promoting Highfield’s Sporting Values.



The Curriculum at Highfield


At Highfield we strive to create a curriculum that is innovative, engaging and inspiring. A curriculum that equips our children to achieve in secondary school and later life. A focus on the teaching of English and mathematics enables us to provide our children with a secure base for further learning.

Embracing other cultures through dance
Embracing other cultures through dance

Residential visits in Years 5 and 6 help to develop teamwork, leadership skills and to create well-rounded, independent individuals.

School trips and visitors help enhance our children's learning and build upon their natural enthusiasm and inquistiveness. 

Developing teamwork skills through solving problems
Developing teamwork skills through solving problems

Our creative curriculum allows us to teach subjects and skills in a contextual way so that our children can build upon their prior knowledge and deepen their connections. Strong links between history, geography, art and DT, as well as science, RE, PE and music where possible, help to create meaning and purpose. Our use of the Learning Challenge Curriculum to focus our teaching around a prime learning 'challenge' question helps to ensure we take into account our children's pre-learning and interests when we teach.

At Highfield we're immensely proud of our curriculum and the journey we take our pupils on. We hope you are too!

Click on the individual subjects to find out more information.

Contact Us

Bridgenorth Avenue, Urmston, Manchester, M41 9PA

0161 748 6096