We hear from a leader in Special Education, Martin McKenna, currently Deputy Head of Palmerston School in Liverpool, and about to take up the Headship of Foxfield School on the Wirral.
Martin articulates his philosophy around interdisciplinary teamwork which has a shared focus on a personalised curriculum through a pedagogy rooted in Engagement. The Evidence for Learning app (EfL) is used to capture each pupil’s learning against their personalised goals.
EfL has been used during the period of lockdown to provide family activities that met the needs not only of their child with learning difficulties but all family members, who record the participation and family engagement, and share it back with the school.
Martin describes how they ‘share the script’ between each other, which is mutually empowering at this time of crisis. He feels this positive creativity militates against some of the negative consequences of lockdown in families who find themselves in difficult circumstances, and he endorses the Recovery Curriculum for its focus on teaching as a relationship-based profession, which enable teachers to deal with loss trauma and anxiety in the children.
He reflects how he will carry these values forward into his next school setting through communication, hope and endeavour. He sees that all children will need a time of healing to recalibrate as successful learners.
Video case studies from Palmerston School
Earlier in 2020, before the pandemic, we spent a day with the students and staff at Palmerston School recording some of the wonderful teaching, collaboration and learning that goes on in the Palmerston learning community every day.
\We spoke with the leadership team, teachers, support assistants, local authority staff, physios, multi-agency teams and parents and captured some wonderful and inspiring nuggets of practice and deep learning.
About Martin McKenna, Palmerston School & Foxfield School
Martin began his career into SEN in 2007 as a teacher in SEN at Palmerston school. Throughout his years as a teacher he has worked closely with staff both within Palmerston and in mainstream schools to ensure the curriculum is personalised and meets the needs of a range of pupils across ASC, PMLD, SLD and the MLD spectrum.
As part of his role he is responsible for developing, monitoring and training to improving the quality of teaching and learning within the school and supporting other schools as a Specialist Leader in Education.
In 2013 he became a member of the SLT and has helped to guide the school though the last two outstanding judgements in Ofsted.
In September he is moving to the Wirral to undertake his first headship in Foxfield school.
More info on the Recovery Curriculum
For information on the Recovery Curriculum, including the original Think Piece entitled “A Recovery Curriculum: Loss and Life for our children and schools post pandemic”, lectures, resources, reference materials and details of the online communities of practice, visit:
Join the conversation about The Recovery Curriculum:
Clearly any form of Recovery Curriculum will need to be unique to each and every school, contextualised to the ethos, culture and values of that school, as well as its existing curriculum and crucially reflecting and addressing the needs and aspirations of its unique population of learners.
We have created private groups in LinkedIn and Facebook where colleagues and peers can discuss and share thoughts, ideas, experiences, resources and learning in relation to education and provision post pandemic. The groups are also an opportunity to connect people and help you to build a network that can support you on your own important journey over the coming months.
Facebook Group: Recovery Curriculum
We’ve set up a private facebook group specifically for The Recovery Curriculum at:
or search for “recoverycurriculum” in Facebook.
Facebook: EfL SEND Community Group
Join us at:
or search for “eflSENDCommunity” in Facebook.
The purpose of the group is to provide a safe, closed space to seek out and share ideas, experience and resources that can help with any and all aspects of SEND provision. It’s also a community for practitioners and schools that use Evidence for Learning and Insights for Learning to share ideas, resources and support each other in using these apps. This is a peer-moderated and supported group.
Linkedin Group: The Recovery Curriculum
The group is called “A Recovery Curriculum for children & schools post-pandemic” and you can find it at: