Prioritise a creative recovery curriculum over unfair catch-up targets post-Covid

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Children have suffered a huge amount throughout the pandemic and resulting lockdowns. Their lives have been turned upside-down. They have been socially isolated, unable to see other children outside of their family and unable to do any of the activities they've previously enjoyed. No sports or arts activities or lessons, no clubs, no going to see films, no having fun with their friends or going to parties or events. Outdoor centres have closed. Much of their lives have been lived working on a screen. Support services for struggling families have been unavailable. Inequality has grown, some children have not had enough to eat. There has been a steep rise in depressive symptoms in children and many more will have been affected by the decline in mental health of a parent or guardian. 

On top of this, children, their parents and their educators are under pressure from the government to make sure they 'catch up' academically. Schools are being burdened with meeting outmoded or unsuitable government targets despite the unprecedented situation. Parents have been encouraged to report schools to Ofsted when they are perceived to not be keeping up with government requirements. The huge pressure on children, teachers and parents and lack of focus on our wellbeing is inhumane and unfair, and the continued focus on academic attainment far above all else is misguided and isolating. Tired children are facing the possibility of shorter holidays and longer school days to 'catch up from lost education'. Sweeping external initiatives look likely to be imposed on teachers, who know their students and their varied needs so well, and who aren't being properly consulted for their expertise on how best to help and provide quality education and care post-lockdown. 

Gavin Williamson, please listen to educators, education experts, teachers unions, mental health experts, parents and children. We want happy, nourished, relaxed children who are excited for their futures and confident in the support of those around them. We need post-lockdown government-funded enrichment activities which encourage children to socialise and enjoy themselves and their environment, and a curriculum which reaches ALL children and is adjusted to the changing world around them. Please be ambitious in planning for the future of our children and young people, who have sacrificed so much during the pandemic. This moment in time could be an opportunity re-frame and invigorate our educational system and it must not be squandered in favour of outmoded targets and superficial initiatives.




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