With less than a week to go before secondary schools start bringing back more pupils into the classroom are you ready for this? Use our free curriculum/T&L action checklist to identify any areas you may still need to prepare for


How and when to increase in-school teaching and learning (T&L) from 15 June is up to schools. But whatever you have decided is best for your school you need to have identified your curriculum priorities to ensure you make optimum use of your in-school T&L.

This involves a range of considerations. From carrying out a comprehensive assessment of your online learning provision, through to identifying which aspects of your curriculum to prioritise for in-school learning. From organising which students will most need face-to-face teacher support, through to integrating the phased return of new pupils alongside children of key workers who will continue to need the home-learning aspects of your curriculum to be covered in school. So there is a lot for you to think about and plan for.



Safe learning


It is also crucial to know that the learning environments in which your in-school provision will be delivered are safe, and designed to minimise risk to both pupils and staff. So your school will need to have carried out a thorough risk assessment to secure safe use of the learning spaces as well as of access to these and movements in, around and then exiting the school.

As curriculum/T&L leader, it is your role to then ensure that all staff, parents and pupils are aware of and understand how to implement these new safety measures in practice. This includes effective communication to parents as well as training for staff who are going to be part of the in-school teaching team.



Being prepared


All of this can feel overwhelming. With so much to think about, our minds can start running away with us, and we can quickly lose focus on what needs to be done and when. Mental panic can also stall progress and make us less effective at getting the work done so we are properly prepared for wider school reopening.

So our curriculum risk assessment checklist is designed to help you be clear about exactly what you have achieved already and to identify any areas that you may need to give more attention to going forward. It also aims to help you prioritise areas for action, and to identify staff to help you complete the work involved – so that you are not trying to manage this all on your own.

Our focus is on key curriculum/T&L issues – those that are central to your role. So what we don’t cover are issues such as managing any suspected and confirmed Covid-19 cases in school, HR issues, premises and property management issues and so on.

We also don’t cover for now the whole area of pupil and staff wellbeing at this time, and how you take account of that in your planning. That is another huge topic in itself – so is the focus of our next blog.

This checklist will not cover everything – what it will do is give you a tool to bring more coherence to your preparations for wider school reopening. It will allow you to take stock of where you are at now with your planning so that you can identify what still needs to be done. Inevitably, some aspects of provision will only become clear as you start to put all of this into practice – it is unlikely that you will get absolutely everything right from the outset. But what you can have confidence in is that you’ve done everything possible to be as ready as you can be.


The content of this checklist is below with a free downloadable copy of this tool for you to then print off and use


Curriculum/T&L checklist for wider school reopening





Action required

By when

Involving whom?

Comple-tion date

Safe learning environments
Have you planned and communicated acceptable use of core spaces within the school to minimise social mixing, including:
  • Movement between classes?
  • Classroom layouts?
  • Entry and exiting from the lesson?
  • Staffroom?
  • Staff meeting spaces?
  • Hall/gym areas?
  • Playground/outdoor areas?
  • Toilet arrangements?
  • Assemblies (if you are planning on running these)?
Have you checked that your system to stagger arrival, breaks and leaving times will work in practice to minimise social contact?
Have you set up all the social distancing markers where required, eg in canteen, arriving into classroom etc?
Have you created adequate hygiene points with handwashing/sanitising facilities and are all staff aware of these?
Have you put up clear signage to ensure staff and pupils remember to follow all of these safety measures?
Have you maximised ventilation (eg propping doors open), and minimised use of touch-points (eg door and window handles) to keep the risk of spreading infection low?
Have you timetabled all learning to ensure the numbers in each room at any one time is safe for the capacity of the space?
Have you timetabled all learning to ensure safe and staggered movement around the school between learning sessions and break times to allow for social distancing?
Are all staff aware of the waste disposal measures in place to remove potentially contaminated waste?
Have you got cleaning protocols in place to ensure the ongoing disinfecton of T&L resources and equipment?

Curriculum provision

Coverage issues
Have you identified which areas of the curriculum to prioritise at this time?
What mechanisms have you in place to assess what needs to be prioritised within T&L in the coming weeks?
Have you reframed T&L expectations and how practical lessons should be adjusted to keep within new safety measures?
Have you identified which aspects of your curriculum can only be achieved via in-school provision? Eg practical assignments requiring specialist equipment such as in D&T, science etc?
Have you identified which subject areas and T&L concepts will most benefit from in-classroom face-to-face teacher input?
Can your curriculum requirements be effectively delivered by the available staff?
How can you best make use of offsite teaching staff to provide support materials etc to help you secure delivery of your in-school curriculum provision?
How are you identifying what catch up provision is needed most and by which students?
How are you planning a mixed online/in-school programme of provision for going forward to make continued optimal use of face-to-face teacher contact as it develops?


Online learning going forward
Have you with the input of subject heads audited your curriculum to identify which aspects of provision with careful adaptation can be effectively achieved via online/distance learning?
Do you have assessment systems in place to identify where online/distance learning is working well, and where improvements are required?
Do you have systems to help you highlight which type of online/distance learning activities are being most effective in terms of engagement and learning outcomes?
Have you got assessment systems in place to ensure that home learners are receiving the same quality of feedback on their work as those pupils who are in school?
Have you invited parents to submit particular areas of home learning that they and their child are struggling with?
Do you have key staff responsible for providing support in designated areas of home-learning concerns?


Planning use of in-school T&L
With just one-quarter of the Year 10 and 12 groups being in each day, have you planned in-classroom time to optimum effect?
How have you planned work on the days when pupils are home learning so that for their in-classroom time they can have optimal use of teacher face-to-face support?
Have you achieved fair and workable timetabling of staff to provide the in-school learning sessions?
How have you planned provision to minimise the number of staff in contact with each group of pupils?
How have you identified pupils most in need of face-to-face teacher support?
Are you planning your in-classroom pupil groups around specific student needs? Eg having pupils most in need of catch-up provision in at the same time?
What systems do you have in place to flag up students who are most at risk of / are actually falling behind with their learning – those who may benefit from in-school support?
Do you have a comprehensive record system in place so that all staff know exactly which pupils are in school?
How are you going to integrate phased return of new students alongside continuing to provide for the pupils of key workers?


Transition programme
Have you adapted your induction programme to online provision for the new Year 7 intake to help secure a smooth transition during this time?
Have you been able to create a virtual school visit to help familiarise the new intake with the school premises and how it operates?
Have you been able to adapt your buddy system for online support between buddy and new pupil?
Has your transition team been able to have effect remote contact with primary school link staff to identify learning needs and readiness for the new style of academic learning?


Staff readiness and support

Are staff properly trained in the new ways of working to secure safety and social distancing?
Are all staff clear about the safety measures you have put in place to minimise any risk to themselves and their pupils on returning to school?
Do you have a new behaviour protocol for all staff to follow so that this is applied fairly and consistently to take account of the current situation?
Have you redeployed staff taking advantage of their core skills to carry out other roles to support the effective running of the school?
Are all staff confident to carry out any new role they have been assigned, and are they aware of all safety measures and controls in place with regards to this task?


Communication with parents/guardians

Do you have a system to check which parents/guardians are sending their child(ren) in?
Is there a system in place for parents/guardians to add their child to the list in future?
Do you have planning measures in place for providing for more pupils as more parents/guardians become confident to return their child to school?
Have you communicated the safety measures you have in place to parents/guardians in a clear yet comprehensive way? Including the following:
  • PPE requirements?
  • Hygiene/hand washing requirements as well as informing them of the deep cleaning arrangements you have put in place?
  • Informing them of the specific entrance and exit routes to the site to ensure social distancing?
  • Lunch and break-time arrangements to secure social distancing?
  • Changes to the timetabling?
  • Behaviour expectations of pupils with regards to keeping social distance, eg no hugging, direct contact etc?
Have you made it clear to parents/guardians how to explain to their child the new way in which school will operate – so pupils can be as prepared as possible?
Have you made it clear to parents/guardians what continued support they need to give their child with ongoing home learning?
Do you have a clear system of point of contact for parents/guardians with any concerns regarding their child’s learning at this time?


Download a free copy of this tool to print off and use


If you are looking to make more comprehensive changes to how you structure your whole-school curriculum and T&L, check out our toolkit – it offers you a complete framework around which to build your new approach

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