Covid-19 and the lost hidden curriculum: locating an evolving narrative ecology of Schools-in-Covid

Emma Maynard*, Amy Warhurst, Nicola Fairchild

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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    The Covid-19 pandemic brought seismic changes to children and families, with schools at the forefront of the daily battle to maintain learning. We report on our reflexive thematic analysis of data collected with 28 participants in 14 schools in England during the summer of 2021, following two extensive national lockdowns, and two transition points of returning to school under Covid safety measures. Our data reflects an emerging narrative ecology of Schools-in-Covid, developing as the pandemic continued to unfold for children and families, schools, policy makers and ourselves, in a co-construction of what this pandemic has brought to our lives. We present our findings as a reportage, as our collective experience continues to unfold. Our superordinate themes re-position the UK Government priority of academic catch up as secondary to mental health, and argue the re-establishment of the hidden curriculum was the main vehicle for social and emotional learning (SEL) and wellbeing through direct instruction, modelling and practice, typically associated with improved attitudes about the self, others and school and with consequential higher attainment (e.g. Durlak et al., 2011). We report a partial inversion of expectations; rather than a heavy emphasis towards widening disadvantage, our participants report some benefit to vulnerable children and young people who gained from a changed in-person learning environment, and overwhelming distress to those deemed less vulnerable. Our findings identify Schools in the Community, Care before Curriculum, Agility (adapt, survive and thrive), and Reflective and Responsive, as the key aspects of an emerging narrative ecology of Schools-in-Covid.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)325-345
    Number of pages21
    JournalPastoral Care in Education
    Issue number3
    Early online date29 Jun 2022
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2023


    • schools
    • Covid-19
    • children
    • families
    • narrative


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