Daily Express

Wel­com­ing the chil­dren

- Society · Parenting · Family · Ilkeston

Der­byshire-based Em­bark Fed­er­a­tion has put to­gether the Re­con­nec­tion to Re­cov­ery and Re­silience pro­gramme to set­tle chil­dren back into school. The fed­er­a­tion’s head­teach­ers worked with Sharon Gray OBE to help their pupils thrive when they re­turn, bear­ing in mind they may have been af­fected by be­reave­ment and stress. Anna Up­ton, head of the 240-pupil Chaucer School in Ilke­ston, Der­byshire, sent out ques­tion­naires to par­ents to share their con­cerns. “Par­ents have ideas for the re­turn to school too – one came up with a video tour of what the class­rooms will look like when they re­turn so the chil­dren know what they are re­turn­ing to and un­der­stand that it will be dif­fer­ent from be­fore,” she says. Each of the fed­er­a­tion’s schools has a be­spoke risk as­sess­ment. “It can’t be a one-size-fits-all ap­proach,” says Matthew Craw­ford, Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer/Ex­ec­u­tive Head­teacher and Trust Leader of Em­bark’s nine schools. “One of our schools is 300 years old with nar­row cor­ri­dors and small class­rooms while oth­ers are large spa­ces and so­cial dis­tanc­ing will be eas­ier.” Sharon Gray be­lieves in­vest­ing in the pupils’ men­tal health is in­valu­able. “If we don’t get it right for some of our more vul­ner­a­ble chil­dren at this stage, we are go­ing to have huge catch-up and the im­pact for those chil­dren will be things like ex­clu­sion,” she says.

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