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Positive Relationships during the Pandemic

25 May 2021

Positive Relationships during the Pandemic

Written by Kenny Collins, Head of Education

Throughout the course of the pandemic, we were determined that our school remained open, however we were forced to make many adjustments. In order to ensure appropriate physical distancing in classes, we reduced class sizes significantly and opened more House Groups to ensure that pupils came to school in House Bubbles.

Sadly, many teachers and Classroom assistants were unable to attend work due to their own circumstances relating to the impact of COVID 19, which ultimately forced us to open our school later than usual. However, this allowed each pupil the opportunity to sleep a little longer than they would normally. We were aware of many studies and research items suggesting that insufficient sleep in adolescents can correlate with a wide variety of adverse outcomes, from poor mental and physical health to behavioural problems and lower academic grades. We were acutely aware that our young people were going through a very confusing and stressful time with the impact and uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, not to mention the adversity they had faced in their lives. On top of that, they're also experiencing brain development and hormone fluctuations bearing down on them constantly. This seemed like an opportunity to put those suggestions and ideas to the test.

This change to the normal routine had a knock-on effect to other areas of the centre, input and support from members of our Education, Wellbeing and Care teams was vital to make sure that the school week ran as smoothly as possible.

We found that starting school later had a profound impact on the behaviours and demeanours of our young people. We noticed many things such as, improved alertness, greater attention spans, and an improved academic performance that led to an increase in attainment. There were fewer instances of behavioural issues that could have the potential to lead to a significant loss of learning.

  • We facilitated fewer Restorative conversations.
  • We noticed a reduction in the request for ‘time out’ of class.
  • Relationships between peers and teachers seemed to improve.
  • Our attainment statistics improved despite a significant number of our teaching staff being unable to attend.

Our Education Recovery plan has been written with the purpose of striking a balance between continued support of every pupil’s wellbeing and effectively supporting learning loss. Some of the changes we made initially were implemented out of necessity, with the overarching goal being to keep everyone safe, however these changes have had a more significant impact.

Lockdown and the subsequent phases of Scotland’s Route map have been tough, with restrictions on our day to day lives that none of us could have imagined. For young people living in secure care, close support, and our semi-independent cottages; that’s meant far less freedom and fewer choices than usual because of the rules, for example not being able to spend time with people who are not living in the same care house, not being able to see family and friends in person, and not getting a hair-cut and so much more. Young people have been incredible throughout everything we have had to endure over the last few months they have shown real Resilience.