Unique Recovery Curriculum supports the mental health of pupils returning to education following lockdown

Professor Barry Carpenter CBE, Professor of Mental Health in Education from the School of Education at Oxford Brookes University, has conducted important work which is influencing policy and procedures at schools returning to teaching after lockdown.

Professor Carpenter’s work establishes that children’s mental health should be paramount for schools as part of Covid-19 planning, alongside issues of safety and catching up on learning. The publication of has led to Professor Carpenter delivering keynote talks hosted by the Department of Education and will play an important role in the return of school children after the 2020 summer holidays.

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Professor Carpenter has created A Recovery Curriculum, providing guidance on what schools should consider to help ensure positive mental health in children as they transition back to school after lockdown.
Barry Carpenter is Professor of Mental Health in Education at Oxford Brookes, and has over 40 years of experience as a teacher, headteacher, writer on special needs education and is an education consultant to organisations and bodies in the UK and overseas.

He offers a range of methods as part of A Recovery Curriculum, including exploring longer playtimes, which can allow for social interaction, and the re-building of emotional resilience. Professor Carpenter says that best practice on an international level can also be adopted in the UK.

The research has involved analysing the loss children have suffered during the pandemic, the potential anxiety and trauma it may have caused, and the impact on their ability to learn. Finding ways to re-ignite children’s motivation to learn is another factor which Professor Carpenter identifies as key to the transition back into schools.

Professor Carpenter presented a keynote address on A Recovery Curriculum at Department for Education hosted webinars in July, with two of these events alone seeing over 11,000 individuals register to learn more about his important work.

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

“Throughout lockdown, children have been listening to reports about the spread of the pandemic and to the reported death toll in their country and internationally. Many children may return to school knowing of someone who has died. In this respect, we have much to learn from the experiences of those children affected by the earthquakes in Christchurch, New Zealand.

“Schools there, kept a register of the deaths within a family, or other significant traumatic events, to guide and inform staff as children returned. Subsequent evidence from research studies from New Zealand have shown that there has been considerable impact on the learning and development of those children who were under five years old at the time of the earthquakes, such as speech delays and emotional immaturity.

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