The introduction of lockdown and school closures across the country was unchartered territory. There were so many unknowns surrounding it. How will it work? What will happen? What about education? How long will it last? No – one had any definitive answers, yet education was delivered, and our school population survived.
As we entered our second phase of school closures it was not as daunting a prospect due to the invaluable knowledge, skills and lessons learned from the previous lockdown experience, but still, it did carry uncertainty and questions alike.
As outlined in the Mental Health Foundation article “Impacts of lockdown on the mental health of children and young people” the scenario of lockdown will be the first ‘extended closure of schools in the U.K in recent history’ resulting in the potential adverse effect on mental health and well-being. The article further states that there is emerging evidence suggesting that despite lockdown being a shared experience children and young people were experiencing loneliness.
In this second period of lockdown my role is now that of NQT, with the continuing responsibility to provide education for the children in my class, in somewhat different circumstances to which I was accustomed. We entered the digital era of teaching quickly, witnessing both the development and implementation of virtual classrooms to facilitate learning at home. I had to ensure that whilst in my approach of delivering high standards of education that I did not lose focus of the children in my class, I had to ensure that all their needs were met all be it remotely.
It resonated with me that Health and Well-being is taught within the classroom setting and is not only an important but an integral component of Curriculum for Excellence, which is identified as being the responsibility of all. I therefore identified that the Health and Well-being of my pupils had to be a primary focus during this lockdown period, given as much priority as numeracy and literacy. Their own health and well-being are contributory factors to them actively engaging in their learning, and it is important that they be given the opportunity to express how they feel daily and or weekly.
The aim of this enquiry was to monitor pupil well-being throughout the duration of the home learning period. By providing them with various activities and opportunities to identify how they feel and to observe the level of engagement within the various digital platforms offered to facilitate their learning.