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The Corpus Christi Recovery Curriculum

Recovery Curriculum(2)

We have worked tirelessly over the past few months handling the disruption caused by school closures to our children's education. School life will be a little different to what it was in the past and we hope that our tailored curriculum, one that takes into account not just the academic wellbeing of the children but the mental and physical wellbeing to.

If our parents and guardians would like a copy of our Recovery Plan please phone the school office on 0121 675 2784.

Please take a look at the methodology we will be using to deliver our curriculum below:

“Trauma informed and trauma responsive systems acknowledge that every interaction is an intervention” Dr. Karen Treisman

“When a flower doesn’t bloom, you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower”Alexander Den Heijer


COVID-19 and the Recovery Curriculum

The support we will provide will be guided by the implementation of “reintegration flightpaths” feeding into the teaching of our new Recovery Curriculum that has been specifically designed to empower pupils to continue progressing towards their long term, pre-pandemic, targets.  The stages that link to the flightpaths incorporate Carpenter and Carpenter’s 5 levers of recovery: relationships, community, transparent curriculum, metacognition and space and the principles of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. 

Our cohort at School is a particularly vulnerable one; the majority of whom have experienced turbulent and traumatic life experiences and it is therefore crucial that we invest all available time and resources to minimise the long-term impact of the pandemic and support them recovering from any associated trauma so that when the time is right they have the emotional resilience, communication and learning skills to be able to continue with their learning journey.

Research shows that future outcomes for health and wellbeing are NOT prescribed by past experience” (Cairns, 2020) therefore timely intervention for our pupils to ensure the effect of the trauma of the pandemic is minimised is key.  A recent survey undertaken by the charity Young Minds involving 2000 people with existing conditions (March 2020) revealed that the current pandemic is having a profound effect on young people with existing mental health conditions. University of Oxford’s Co-space study reported that one fifth of children do not feel safe to leave their homes” (Rae, 2020).  Cairns (2020) recommends that direct experiences such as “unconditional love, helping others in community projects and being involved in social activities” and “environmental factors such as access to an available trusted adult who is not a parent, access to an appropriate education and engaging in hobbies” are all “protective and compensatory experiences which buffer stress and trauma”.  Therefore this research has informed the planning of our Recovery Curriculum at Corpus Christi School, alongside Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, Carpenter and Carpenter’s (2020) levers of recovery and the RESTORE’s (2020) restorative perspective. 

We believe we owe it to our pupils to put outstanding plans in place to ensure that going forward, together “we can grow stronger through recovery from toxic stress” resulting from this global crisis (Cairns, 2020).  Therefore, we are pleased to be able to continue making a difference to the lives of our pupils and their families at this challenging time through our Recovery Curriculum.



  • Identify engagement factors – what motivates each pupil to come to school?  Friends, esteem needs, self-actualisation needs?  Identifying and utilising staff strengths.
  • Physiological and attachment needs – positive and regular communication with families, supporting families with advice on sleep hygiene and screen time, weekly supporting safeguarding needs, physical and mental health and any physiological symptoms of stress and trauma, supporting attachment needs, pupil and parent support surveys, leadership supporting staff’s individual needs.
  • Building staff and pupil confidence, supporting pupils with interpreting information from the media and how it impacts them, communicating measures in place, social stories, self-responsibility, social distancing, identifying safe and withdrawal spaces, supporting and responding to sensory needs, re-building relationships with staff, home-community visits where needed, Thrive, strategies to communicate and manage their anxieties, supporting pupils’ and staff’s physical and mental health needs.
  • Routine and respect – establish the routine that our pupils need, developing acceptance of new routines, developing attention and concentration, supporting pupils re-establish purpose and vision and coping with sense of loss of learning time, respecting pupils’ need for space after being isolated and pupils respecting social distancing and their responsibility to keep others safe, respecting others’ journeys, needs, anxieties and coping strategies.
  • Relationship building – supporting attachment needs, building on and rebuilding healthy online relationships, coming to terms with the fact that they may be rebuilding relationships at school before those with their own extended family, loss and bereavement, with the community – feeling safe in the community, understanding new boundaries.
  • Transition planning – planning for a positive future, creating positive news stories, building relationships with new peers, new staff.
  • Safety needs and reconnection – communicating and establishing permanence of change, establishing new boundaries, safe spaces, new routines, new relationships with key staff and new classes.
  • Routine, respect and relationships – embedding routines and expectations, respecting one another’s needs and ways of working, establishing new class groupings.
  • Continuing pre-pandemic progress journeys – baselining, managing the impact on pupils’/staff’s mental health of previous stages.
  • Self-actualisation – on journey of achieving aspirations, developing independence and self-belief to support them achieving their potential.

“The common thread that runs through the current lived experiences of our children, is loss.  From loss emanates three significant dynamics that will impact majorly on the mental health of our children. Anxiety, trauma and bereavement are powerful forces. For them all to appear at once in an untimely and unplanned fashion is significant for the developing child. Our children are vulnerable at this time, and their mental-health fragile. And on top of that, they are witnessing a sea of adult anxiety, which they unwittingly are absorbing.” (Carpenter and Carpenter, 2020).

Carpenter and Carpenter identified 5 losses:

  • The loss of friendship and social interaction.
  • The loss of routine.
  • The loss of structure.
  • The loss of opportunity.
  • The loss of freedom.

Lever 1: Relationships – As always at Corpus Christi, relationship building will form a significant part of what we do and an element that has remained strong throughout lockdown.  During the first two stages of pupils’ recovery flightpaths, reaching out and reconnection with pupils will be critical – with key staff speaking to pupils on the phone, for those pupils who need it prior to returning to the school site.

Lever 2: Community – Discussions with pupils and families will contribute significantly to successful recovery.  Continuity of approaches to learning used at home will be used in school where appropriate to support this transition.

Lever 3: Transparent Curriculum – Staff teams that know pupils well will plan their reintegration. 

Lever 4: Metacognition – The Recovery Curriculum has been specifically designed to focus on and support the development of key learning skills that are likely to have been impacted in recent months, e.g. single channelled listening, maintaining their attention, sensory regulation and social communication and interaction.  The Recovery Curriculum will be key to developing pupils’ confidence, self-esteem and resilience.

Our Recovery Curriculum at Corpus Christi aims to enable our pupils to continue to develop their emotional resilience; developing their self-regulation and learning how to learn in a school environment once again.

Central to this will be supporting them through the following stages using a personalised approach:

  1. Physiological and attachment needs
  2. Safety needs and reconnection
  3. Identifying engagement factors
  4. Routine and respect
  5. Relationship building

Pupils will need to focus on each stage with differing periods of intensity and for varying amounts of time.  If and where necessary, referrals to external professionals will be made.

Alongside the above stages, will come the following stages – reflecting an iterative cycle; mirroring the initial stages they will need to go through following the trauma experienced from the pandemic:

  1. Transition planning
  2. Safety needs and reconnection
  3. Routine, respect and relationships

Although engaging in core learning will be important for routine for many of our pupils, only when they have made sufficient progress through the above stages will the predominant focus be able to shift towards their cognition and learning targets and progress in order that they can continue their progress pathways towards their pre-pandemic targets.

Before pupils return to school, they will be offered an online survey to complete about their time in lockdown, what they enjoyed doing, what the challenges were, how they feel, what their worries are and what help they would like with their learning and returning to school.  The outcomes of this will then feed into and inform the support and curriculum they receive as they prepare to return to school.


PSHE sessions will support pupils’ emotional development and equip them with the tools for a secure stress-regulation system that should enable them to settle, to feel safe, to concentrate, to be curious and to be willing to work alongside their peers and work in collaborative ways.  Through PSHE sessions we aim to develop pupils’ resilience and work towards supporting them engaging in structured learning again. 

Get Active

Physical activity is key to supporting stress management and emotional regulation, as reflected in the Government’s decision to remove the restrictions on daily exercise


“Relationships are at the heart of creating environments which support good mental health and wellbeing for our children and young people” (Barnados, 2020).

This is one of the key levers for a Recovery Curriculum as identified by Barry and Matthew Carpenter (2020).  For our pupils it will be important for them to feel listened to and to process their emotional experiences of lockdown; discussing what happened, how it affected them, what sense they made of it and how they managed it.  Talktime with a trusted adult will therefore be a crucial element of their recovery.  Relationship building with staff and developing their trust and confidence will be key.  It is about:

  • Understanding how an individual feels
  • Enabling pupils to discuss how they feel
  • Promoting change in how they deal with how they feel.                                                

Social, emotional and mental health interventions will be planned tailored to the individual pupil.

There will also need to be relationship building with pupils, rebuilding where there were incidents prior to lockdown or where there have been conflicts online during lockdown.

Expressive and social communication: This is an area pupils are likely to have had limited experience of during lockdown; spending increased time at home, many in their bedrooms and engaging in narrow social communication opportunities such as online gaming.  Regular practise developing confidence and skills in speaking and listening activities and social communication will be key – through group discussions, turn taking games, team building, social communication games and drawing and talking therapy. A high level of adult modelling and scaffolding will be required.

Receptive communication:  Social communication skills such as turn taking in conversation, active listening and respecting others’ viewpoints are also likely to require considerable focus, modelling and scaffolding.

Core skills

Routine is important to our pupils so elements of core learning skills such as English and Maths will be introduced early on for those who are able to access this.  PSHE, will be planned where appropriate within and intertwined throughout lessons, for example through speaking and listening activities, scenario based sessions, games and team building.

Personal Modules

Following isolation and also due to possible anxiety related to COVID-19 it will be important to some pupils to have physical space from others when they are in school. 

Monitoring: how do we know we are doing the best we can do?

The following are all possible indicators of successful progress for our pupils during this period:

  • Pupils are moving through their flightpaths in a timely manner. 
  • Where pupils aren’t making timely progress actions are put in place.

There is no doubt that supporting our pupils is a very rewarding, albeit physically and emotionally demanding role.  It is critical that staff feel able to seek support; whether that be someone to offload to, a shoulder to cry on, adaptations made or more formal support from external professionals.  After all…

“You can’t pour from an empty cup”.

Every one of us has been facing our individual challenges over recent months; after all we are living through a global pandemic, it is important that we respect and acknowledge that this will have affected and is affecting us all in different ways and that, as always, we ensure that our team adapts to enable us to support each other through these challenging times.

Just as our pupils are being reintegrated into school using personalised reintegration, we are supporting staff using the same premise.  This may be through working remotely where necessary, offering a phased transition back in to school in terms of hours.

Our key aims for staff are supporting their mental health and wellbeing during this challenging time and supporting staff to return to what we do as a school: working directly with our pupils to support their holistic progress.  Where staff are absent from work due to illness – due to either physical and/or mental health, it is important that formal absence reporting procedures are followed so that the right support can be offered.

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