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Recovery curriculum

Recovery curriculum rainbow

A Recovery Curriculum:  Loss and Life for our children and schools post-pandemic 

Barry Carpenter, Professor of Mental Health in Education, Oxford Brookes University

How will it be for children when they return to school? It would be naive to think that they will pick up where they left off on the day their school went into lock down.

We have been analysing the loss children have suffered during this time, and the potential anxiety and trauma it may cause, with significant impact on their ability to learn effectively.

We have built the construct of a Recovery Curriculum, enabling schools to consider the processes they will need to put in place to successfully transition children back to school. As the word ‘construct’ suggests, this is a process of building, of co-constructing, a curriculum that is responsive to the needs of children, that harvests their experience and makes sense of it emotionally as well as cognitively.

Visit the Community of Practice to exchange and develop ideas

The podcast series is a powerpoint version of the Recovery Curriculum Think Piece, with Professor Carpenter speaking to the slides. 

School leaders discussed their responses to the implications of a Recovery Curriculum in their school setting (Primary, Secondary, and Special) In particular the pedagogy, resources and also the mental health of the children. Listen to the podcast series Conversations on a Recovery Curriculum

5 key principles of Recovery Curriculum


PSHE: Developing a Recovery Curriculum webinar

This video-webinar is intended as a starting point to get you thinking about what a ‘recovery curriculum’ means in your school and what you can do to start planning for embedding a recovery curriculum now.

 This session covers:

  • What are the key concerns for young people returning to school?
  • The role of PSHE education vs pastoral care
  • Recommendations for immediate, medium and long term responses that could form a recovery curriculum


Further resources


Returning to School after Lockdown

Lucy Stevens and Fiona Quan (GHLL) and Dr Melissa Parry (Educational Psychology Service) have created a brief double-sided leaflet with general advice and top tips.  In addition to this, a number of case studies are included with some suggestions and strategies from school staff, GHLL and Educational Psychology Service. There is a recorded example for primary aged children and secondary aged young people for each area, and the advice has also been typed for reference.

The case studies provide some examples to try but these are not exhaustive, as each child and young person, their situation or circumstances will be different.  Further individual advice and referrals to relevant services or agencies for more support may be required. Also, it is important to remember that school staff are available and happy to help – please do not be afraid to seek support from them!

Case Study examples for Primary and Secondary age pupils

Are you concerned about a child:

  • Anxiety and Worry
  • Screen time
  • Loss and Bereavement
  • Reconnecting and peer relationships
  • School engagement and separation anxiety

Take a look at these case study examples and advice on these topics from our Educational Psychologist.



Post COVID19 resources

The Schools’ Wellbeing Partnership, in consultation with the Department for Education, has published support for primary schools to help them prepare their recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic so that the mental health and wellbeing of the whole school community is protected.

The Coronavirus crisis has been one of the most challenging times that schools have ever faced. They have achieved a remarkable amount in making sure that children and young people have been kept safe and able to continue learning.

However, the pandemic is likely to have affected children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing, both now and in the longer-term.

Supporting the whole school’s mental health needs is more important than ever, as children and young people adjust to the return to school.

The tool builds on the eight principles set out in Public Health England’s guidance: Promoting children and young people’s emotional health and wellbeing: a whole school and college approach, and shows how schools can promote and support mental wellbeing through all aspects of school life.

The tool is designed to support senior leadership teams seeking to build on their current practice, providing information about the wide range of mental health and wellbeing resources available, and starting a conversation about the practical steps the school can take to support staff and pupil wellbeing.

Download the Schools' Wellbeing Partnership Toolkit

Tagged under: whole school approach, recovery curriculum, post covid19, covid19, post pandemic