Reintegrating pupils following school closure

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Jenny Moore
Over the last four months, we’ve been working hard to make sure schools across the country have got support, guidance and practical resources to help them as they tackle the twists and turns of Covid-19. As we now move towards a phase of reintegration, our team has been working on some very specific resources to help staff, as they bring pupils back into the classroom.

On 1 June, the first few groups of pupils started returning to school. For some, this was the first time back in school after more than ten weeks at home. This will have felt like a big change, and we knew that children across the country will have all had very different experiences during lockdown. 

Some will have had a difficult time at home and see school as a safe place to come back to. Others will feel the opposite: they may have felt safe at home, and feel anxious about being back at school. While most children will adapt and settle back into school, others will need more support.

Returning to school will be different for everyone, and so greater consideration is needed to help make sure all pupils feel comfortable and safe. With so much to think about already, our aim was to provide support for leaders to handle this process, in a simple but effective way, that didn’t require them to do lots of extra work themselves.

We launched Safeguarding and child protection: reintegrating pupils following closure at the end of May, and have already had more 1,000 schools download the course materials.

How we created our training session

We spent some time conducting in-depth user research, and had lots of conversations with experts in child psychology and mental health, to make sure we understood the most pressing problems. We took these insights and created our new resources in line with our existing expertise in understanding what good adult learning and CPD looks like.  The new materials give leaders clear guidance on what to train staff on, as well as providing the possibility for learners themselves to practise their learning.

What it covers

Over 40 minutes, staff will learn how school closure and lockdown might be affecting children, including getting an understanding of a range of specific issues, like anxiety, trauma, grief, exposure to domestic abuse. It also includes slides to remind staff about how to handle disclosures and report safeguarding concerns. There is an anticipated rise in disclosures as children return to school, so it’s important for staff to know how to act if a child makes a disclosure.

The course is interactive, and provides an opportunity to practise both spotting signs of the issues above (anxiety, trauma, grief, exposure to domestic abuse) and discussing these issues with children in a safe environment. We’ve used video to give staff a really clear example of how to discuss feelings and experiences with children, before they try it themselves.  

Finally, the course also includes remote delivery guides, which provide step-by-step instruction on how you can deliver safeguarding training using Microsoft Teams or Google Classroom.

The interest we’ve seen in this course in such a short period of time is testament to our team’s relentless drive to get school leaders the critical guidance they need, when they need it. This course is exclusive to members of Safeguarding Training Centre. Find out more about adding Safeguarding Training Centre to your school or trust by clicking below, and help your staff to support pupils as they return to school in September.

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