Norfolk schools inspire national Covid catch-up

Norwich Primary Academy vice principal and Inspiration Trust specialist art advisor Heather Denny (inset).

Norwich Primary Academy pupils and vice principal and Inspiration Trust specialist art advisor Heather Denny (inset). - Credit: Inspiration Trust

The experience of schools in Norfolk during the pandemic has helped inform national guidance on catch-up learning. 

The Inspiration Trust, a multi-academy trust supporting 14 schools across Norfolk and north Suffolk, has made a significant contribution to the advice to schools on teaching a broad curriculum in various subjects post Covid.

Norwich Primary Academy, Hethersett Academy and Jane Austen College are highlighted as examples of good practice in the Department for Education guidance.

The non-statutory guidance for teachers and school leaders offers suggestions to help schools decide how to prioritise elements within the curriculum to help students who have seen months of disrupted learning

“These suggestions are based on the good practice evident in many schools, as exemplified in the case studies,” it states.

Jane Austen College in Colegate, Norwich. Picture: Denise Bradley

Jane Austen College in Colegate, Norwich.  - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020

Jane Austen College in Norwich is highlighted as an example for other schools to follow in planning how to help pupils catch up in English. 

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Head of the English department Amy Coombe states: “Throughout the pandemic, we have made minimal changes to the curriculum, aiming to maintain its rigour and ambition. However, we identified lessons where we could recap powerful knowledge that pupils had initially encountered during remote teaching.”

Hethersett Academy features as a case study in the teaching of design and technology after students have returned to practical lessons. 

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Kate Finlay, the school’s head of design and technology, states: “On our return to the classroom, we decided to prioritise teaching core concepts so that pupils have a strong knowledge base.

“For example, rather than attempting to cover a range of different computer-controlled equipment, as we have done in previous years, we chose to focus particularly on 3D printing.”

Pupils at Hethersett Academy

Pupils at Hethersett Academy which is highlighted in national guidance for Covid catch-up learning. - Credit: Inspiration Trust

She added: “Interleaving practical and theoretical aspects and gradually consolidating pupils' practical skills, alongside a strong focus on knowledge, have supported pupils to regain their confidence in the classroom.”

Norwich Primary Academy vice principal Heather Denny, who is also the trust’s specialist art advisor, is featured suggesting ways to boost teaching of art and design.

“We have scrutinised our curriculum to identify and focus on the core elements that will provide pupils with the specific knowledge they need to progress in the next academic year,” she states in the guidance.

Inspiration Trust schools also feature in the guidance on teaching music.

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