Posted on June 18, 2020 by engage
There was a strong feeling that what was needed were during these unprecedented times were online sessions that provided colleagues with the opportunity to talk, share, listen and realise that they are not alone. A series of #engage_and_connect sessions that did just were organised, welcoming an incredible line-up of guest speakers to share their work and views in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the impact on schools and SEMH education.
Many will be aware of (and extremely grateful for!) the work that continues to be done by NASS, including regular updates that collate official guidance and disseminate its contents to identify the impact on specialist education. It was therefore a privilege to jointly deliver the #engage_and_connect sessions with NASS and have the opportunity to share our combined experiences more widely.
We would like to say ‘thank you’ to all of the speakers that took the time to join us and so willingly shared their resources, experience and expertise, and to all those individuals and schools that supported #engage_and_connect either by “dialling in” during the sessions or by visiting this website to access recordings or resources afterwards.
Wednesday 1st July with Richard McCann
It was a privilege to be joined by motivational speaker Richard McCann for the #engage_and_connect session on Wednesday 1st July. Richard spoke at the engage in their future National Conference in 2011 so we knew to expect a presentation of exceptional quality, emotional content, and highly relevant messages.
Richard shared his personal experience of adversity and challenge, explained the impact that key individuals had on him, and illustrated how his “I Can” and “I Will” attitude helped him turn his life around. Through this, his own experience and appreciation of the difference that educators can have on their students was clear.
The key messages that he shared are as relevant to teachers as they are to their students: “we have the greatest capacity to grow when we’re facing to challenges”, “don’t be afraid to ask for help”, “kindness matters”.
A recording of the session is not available but to find out more about Richard, please visit his website – www.richardmccann.co.uk
Wednesday 1st June with Professor Barry Carpenter and Sharon Gray
Hot on the heels of the #engage_and_connect session with Bernard Allen on Monday 1st June, Professor Barry Carpenter joined us on Wednesday 3rd June for the fourth #engage_and_connect.
Barry talked through his Recovery Curriculum work, the five key areas of loss, and how the Recovery Curriculum is a construct built on five levers “as a systematic, relationships-based approach to reigniting the flame of learning in each child”. He reiterated how important compassionate leadership is at this time more than ever, and how teaching is, at its core, relationship based.
Resources, ideas and useful links were shared and the value and relevance of Barry’s expertise was clearly appreciated given the positive feedback from participants.
For those who would like to revisit the session, pull out the resources and links that Barry mentioned, or share it with colleagues, and for those that were unable to make it, a recording is available here –
It was also a privilege to hear from Sharon Gray again as she provided more detail and insight on the work that she has been doing with the Embark Federation.
Sharon explained how they have been looking at the real lived experience of all stakeholders during the pandemic, how they are developing a library of resources to support students by age and stage as they return to school, and shared several useful and practical ideas to aid that transition.
Sharon’s session can be viewed here –
Monday 1st June with Bernard Allen
In his #engage_and_connect session, Bernard Allen referred to the need to take “reasonable endeavours” to minimise risk and do the best possible in the circumstances. Considering the language that we use in risk assessments, demonstrating the thinking behind certain actions and guidance, and ensuring that this is shared in the appropriate with stakeholders were also discussed.
Bernard also pointed out that, in legal cases, the test of what constitutes good practice is whether or not a particular course of action would be supported by a ‘reasonable body of professional opinion’. In drawing together such an experienced group to face these challenges we become that reasonable body. There are no experts in a position to pass down infallible guidance to leaders on the practicalities of managing schools and children’s homes in this new era. It is up to us to invent best practice by engaging creatively and sharing ideas that seem to work.
A recording is available (in two parts) here –
Resources from Bernard’s session are –
Many thanks to Bernard for sharing these and allowing us to make them available here.
You may also find this resource useful – Health and safety audit.pdf020620. Drafted in response to numerous requests from a wide range of educational settings for advice and support, we are enormously grateful to Tony Ryall and Jeannine Law for providing and sharing this document.
Tuesday 19th May with Keith Fraser, Chair of the Youth Justice Board
For those that missed the session on 19th May with Keith Fraser, Chair of the Youth Justice Board, you can view the session here.
Keith reflected on how the circumstances caused by the Coronavirus pandemic have provided an opportunity to reflect and to challenge if we should return to the “old” normal.
He also talked through how the “child first” approach must translate into strategy and operational procedures, and that it should be genuinely understood and delivered by all stakeholders and involved parties to be truly effective.
Wednesday 6th May
The first #engage_and_connect session provided a useful and informative opportunity for participants to come together. Experience, feedback and concerns were shared but it was finding reassurance that they weren’t alone in the prevailing unprecedented circumstances that proved to be so invaluable for participants. It provided a much needed forum for sharing collective support for the emotional and mental well being of school leaders who found themselves supporting so many others and facing so many challenges.