Ysgol Emmanuel is a large primary school with a two form-entry located on the coast of North Wales. Deputy Headteacher, Linda Coleman, discusses the challenges the school faced as a result of Covid-19 and how GL Assessment’s Pupil Attitudes to Self and School (PASS) survey helped teaching staff identify the mindset of their pupils following their return after lockdown.
As Ysgol Emmanuel is based in an area of high deprivation, the Covid-19 pandemic and resulting school closures had a severe impact on our school community.
Our remote learning provision during the first school closure proved to be problematic for pupils whose parents did not have enough data to download the various learning platforms and resources required. We managed to provide devices for the pupils who most needed these, however, some parents struggled to set these up and therefore required additional support.
When the school reopened last year after the first lockdown, a huge challenge for us was identifying the mindset of our pupils and what support and interventions we needed to put in place for them. We tested pupils with the PASS survey in the Autumn term and analysed the results, which helped us to detect those pupils who required intervention for low self-esteem and emotional development.
The ‘Feelings about school’ factor flagged pupils who were often late into school and therefore not connected with their class. As a result, we ensured that these pupils always had a morning check-in with their teacher. The ‘Self-regard’ factor also showed us that we did not have enough resources for all pupils in our classrooms, therefore we topped up our resources to ensure that each pupil had access to these (and not just those with low ability).
The results of the PASS survey also helped to inform our staff training. We held two training days for our staff – which covered circle time, mindfulness practice, growth mindset and success criteria for online learning. The staff had their PASS data in front of them and went through each of the factors to highlight the pupils who needed further support.
The second school closure in January delayed us putting our nurture groups into place. However, our teaching assistants did manage to hold virtual one-to-ones with pupils who required emotional support. Following the return to school, we are already seeing signs of additional children requiring emotional support after lockdown. Once we test our pupils with PASS again, we are expecting to see these children flagged up in the results.
It is essential for us to understand the mindset of our pupils during these challenging times. The results and suggested interventions from PASS have helped our staff harness the power to put support in place for our pupils, and to prevent any self-esteem issues identified from manifesting themselves further.
Ysgol Emmanuel is one of our Centres of Assessment Excellence