It was really quite timely and useful joining the two webinars this week with Dr Amelia Roberts and Barry Carpenter, it was great to see so many colleagues dial in for the session, up to 56 for the Recovery Curriculum session. Dr Amelia Roberts shared the work they are developing for the Back on Track Project, where they will be working with schools for at least a term, to ensure pupils make their way back onto their individual learning trajectory as smoothly and quickly as possible- schools will be contributing to the research by answering a few questions. It will be fascinating to see how this develops, as many of the cornerstones and plans for getting back on track are under serious consideration amongst Camden schools.

We were delighted to welcome Barry Carpenter to Camden, as you well know, he is in great demand and had already led a seminar for the DfE that day too, with participant numbers into the thousands! The Recovery Curriculum has become a normative term within weeks of the initial published material –it was useful reflecting on Barry’s clinical approach to recovery, where he shared his thoughts on igniting the joy of learning around the five losses (routine, structure, friendship, opportunity and freedom). Barry mentioned the importance of compassionate leadership on more than one occasion, and the need for empathy and patience. Although Barry was very emotionally invested, I personally do think there’s more optimism and hope around the return of pupils to school, with a balance between providing time and patience for children to remerge back into school, but also recognise that they are resilient too and that pace to regaining lost learning is also a priority.

Interestingly, I was sent a piece by Peter Hyman titled ‘Our School Systems are broken-Let’s grab this chance to remake them’. Peter writes about key strands for reform, ‘In the future, one with more quality, finally, is needed in abundance – not just from schools but government, too: imagination. As we come out of the crisis, we must urgently ask whether what we are doing is fit for purpose, particularly given the bleak post-pandemic economic world. We need to imagine afresh what a great education, a big education, looks like, so we can come back stronger. It would be sad if, next June, we were back in a “normal” that no one really liked’. Having spent the week dealing with and considering next year’s Learning Hubs, I can certainly say that the applications and the narrative are about the future and taking forward and embracing the lessons learned.

Camden Virtual Work Experience

‘Thank you for an amazing opportunity and for having us experience… a one of a lifetime opportunity placement.’ Camden Virtual Work Experience student –

‘This is all round such a great initiative and seemingly really valuable for both the volunteers and students so once again thank you for the opportunity to take part –Camden Pledge employer.

We are pleased that as a response to the loss of work experience opportunities, in light of COVID-19, Camden STEAM, working with local Pledge employers including: Google, the Francis Crick Institute, Central Saint Martin’s, Skanska, CSJV, Springer Nature, HS2, Camden Council and Regent’s Place, and in partnership with the national charity Speakers for Schools have been able to secure virtual work placements for 250 Year 11, 12, and 13 students during June and July. With more employers keen to take part in the autumn term.

Working together in small virtual groups, alongside industry mentors, students have been able to put into practice real-world skills, from creative thinking and team collaboration, through to design and project management. Examples include – Francis Crick Institute – developing an activity for the Crick’s programme for young people, and pitching it to an expert panel. Meeting scientists, project planning, meeting other organisations such as the Welcome Trust. Forming the Crick’s first youth influencer group.

Lorraine Lawson

Jon Abbey

Managing Director of Camden Learning

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