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The impact of Covid-19 has affected all children and young people in schools in many different ways; an extended lockdown, isolation and remote learning has created new barriers to learning for many. At The Wherry School as a school for children and young people on the Autistic Spectrum, existing challenges have been exacerbated. Anxieties and the loss of routines together with extended time away from school and social contacts has created trauma within families and for our autistic students; for them, loss of learning and the need for prolonged periods to settle back into school are very difficult to cope with.

Special schools have been allocated with £240 per student for the 2020/21 academic year to be used to mitigate the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. Schools have the flexibility to spend the funding tailored to the needs of their students and their circumstances.

The Wherry School response is evidence based, focusing on the individual child and prioritising transition, mental health and academic catch-up:

1. Professional input from consulting Educational and Clinical Psychologists is supporting the transition back into school. Extended conversations with parents are vital to make this process successful.

2. CPD for the first and second term of the school year is focusing on the Autism Education Competency Framework to finetune our approach and tailor it towards the needs of each individual student. We extended schedules of learning walks and trainings by our professional consultants in Educational Psychology. Our consultant Clinical Psychologists and teachers are in personal contact with all our families.

3. We have Thrive Practitioners working with students with according needs and anxieties due to Covid-19 in both Primary and Secondary School.

4. We are using a fully efficient toolbox of Google classroom and all other Google tools available to reach our students remotely. All our students in Years 8 to 11 (our oldest year group) have their own Chromebooks available at school, and all other students have access to Chromebooks or laptops in rotation.

5. All students have been assessed with the GL Progress Tests in Maths and English in September and this will be repeated within 12 months. A thorough analysis of the results in combination with teacher assessment was basis for the selection of students attending catch-up programmes. A Catch-up Tutor was employed full time for each, Primary School and also for Secondary School from December 2020. The total of both salaries is covered partly by the Government Funding for the Catch-up Programme. * Groups have been selected based on academic ability and personal challenges, and a few of our students have to be taught in a 1:1 setting. Lessons are planned accordingly and in line with the National Curriculum; Primary is targeting Reading, Numeracy and Literacy and the Secondary School’s focus is on English and Maths.

6. We are addressing needs for further intervention with an intervention schedule within the classrooms, delivered by Teaching Assistants who have access to various online programmes such as Nessy, Spellzone, Mathswhizz, Mathswatch, My Maths, Kerboodle etc.

7. A tracking System has been developed and is maintained for each catchup or intervention lesson delivered. This is supervised by teachers and the Intervention Manager of the school and targets are reviewed regularly.

8. Small class size and a student / teacher ratio of 7:3 ensures that teaching of the Curriculum especially in Year 10 and 11 prepares well for the examinations in the summer of 2021 in line with the changes to GCSEs in 2021.

*based on the October 2019 Census: 84 students x £240 = £ 20160

2021 Catch Up Premium Plan

2020 Spring Term Remote Learning Review