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Developing a Curriculum Response to the Pandemic

Like all schools we’ve had a hugely challenging year. Young Citizens resources, especially our Go-Givers subscription, has helped us to ensure we continue providing pupils with SMSC learning opportunities throughout.  

When pupils returned to school in September following the initial COVID lockdown we decided to dedicate a significant amount of the autumn term to PSHE. Go-Givers really helped with this. Having immediate access to lessons such as ‘What is an Infectious Disease?’ and ‘Who Can Help?’ provided valuable support to staff, allowing them to better explain to pupils what was going on and why there had to be so many changes.

We also found ourselves in a situation where all our PPA cover had to isolate so we relied heavily on supply teachers to deliver PSHE. With Go-Givers it was much easier for me to provide the next lesson. No matter who was teaching it, I could show them exactly what we had covered and what we had planned next. It was all there ready to go and I knew it was high quality stuff. 

What first attracted us to Go-Givers?

We have been subscribing to Go-Givers for three years. What first attracted me was how up-to-date and topical the resources were. They cover really challenging topics such as Brexit and Relationships and the Law in a fun, age-appropriate and engaging way. They also spark lively debate and really make the children think about important issues.

When I became Deputy Head the new national curriculum for primary schools had not long been in place and having received a ‘requires improvement’ OFSTED in 2013 the school’s focus had very much been on improving standards in core subjects. In 2014 we had an OFSTED which went very well and so we could shift the focus onto the wider curriculum.

Part of my role as Deputy Head is to lead on the curriculum. I wanted to ensure we had a broad and balanced approach accessing the best resources possible to create the best curriculum possible. We had previously been using a ‘folder based’ PSHE scheme which myself and the staff delivering it were not happy with. I started looking around for what was out there and came cross Young Citizens and the Go-Givers resource subscription.

A Go-Givers subscription hits a lot of bases; Citizenship, PSHE, RSE, SMSC and fundamental British values – they’re all covered. Each lesson comes with detailed teacher notes with a range of activity ideas, interactive pupil resources and a PowerPoint. They are of an excellent quality and highly informative. The range of activities is vast, one day we are writing poems and the next setting up court rooms. There are so many ideas to build on but there is also room for flexibility; it’s not entirely prescriptive. Lessons are designed in such a way that you don’t have to do it all. You can pick the bits that work for your pupils.

“The areas covered provide interesting, topical and up to date information for the pupils. As they are ‘topical’, they have relevance to the children in their day to day lives and can be applied in the ‘real world’.  This engages the children and certainly inspires some lively debates! There are a wide selection of units to choose from, which is beneficial in tailoring lessons to meet the needs of the individual classes and pupils.” – Vicky, HLTA

 

What impact has it had on pupils?

“I really enjoy our PSHE lessons now. They are always interesting, and we get to do all sorts of different activities. We also get to talk about lots of different things that sometimes make me really think. My friend says they make her head hurt (in a good way).” – Pupil, Year 5

The positive impact on pupils is clear to see. One of our big emphases is on metacognition – helping pupils understand how they learn. Go-Givers has really helped with this. Lots of the activities are situation and scenario based which has developed critical thinking. The lessons have also helped certain pupils raise some issues that may otherwise have not been discussed. In turn this has helped improve dialogue with parents and the wider school community.

I recently delivered a unit on ‘Difficult Decisions’. We had one pupil who is normally really quiet, keeping herself to herself and tending to not get that involved. She really shone in the lesson. Her responses showed maturity and such deep thought; both myself and the other pupils were blown away! The Go-Givers resources have been great for opening a new level of discussion.

I would highly recommend Go-Givers to all schools, try some of their resources – you’ll get high quality materials and I’m sure the feedback from both staff and pupils will be great.

Want to get involved?

Thanks to grant funding from The Pears Foundation, schools are able to access a Go-Givers subscription for free until July 2021 using the discount code PEARS20-21. Find out more here – https://www.gogivers.org/about-us/subscription/.

Colin Boultin is Deputy Head at Plantation Primary and Nursery in Merseyside, a large school with just under 500 pupils on role, a high percentage of which are on FSM (33%). He has been teaching there since he qualified in 2001.

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