In the face of unprecedented challenges, schools across North Lincolnshire have provided a lifeline for many key worker families over the past few months and have most recently welcomed back more pupils.
Many schools have opened their doors to pupils in reception, year one, year six and year 10 after many weeks of home schooling.
Since the coronavirus outbreak, schools have reinforced their place in the heart of communities as they continued to provide much-need support through staying open so key workers could go out to work to providing home learning packs to help parents who were home schooling.
Parents were able to support their children with the resources sent home and also by getting involved in online lessons. This gave parents a better understanding of what their children are learning.
Schools found creative ways to keep in touch with their pupils and continue to teach key worker children and those at home with many lessons being delivered in the classroom and broadcast at the same time. In some cases, this has enabled children in two schools to be taught at the same times.
Adeline Brack, Headteacher at Barton St Peter’s Church of England Primary School, said:
“Children love to be back at school and have settled in to the new routine. This wouldn’t have been possible without the dedication of staff and the support of parents.
“The school has benefited from a dedicated, enthusiastic workforce, all of which were available to work, which enabled us to do more and support our pupils.
“We have carried out home visits and increased these for those families that wanted more contact. The children have now settled in really well because we kept in touch with them.”
Anna Cvijetic, Headteacher at Berkeley Primary School, said:
“At Berkeley Primary School we have been amazed at the resilience of children who have chosen to return to school. They have coped with a huge amount of change in a short amount of time.
“We are trying our best to stick to two metre social distancing and the children really understand this and are able to adhere to it within their bubble and whilst moving around the school. This is keeping the children and adults safe. They come to school with a big smile on their faces and a spring in their step.
“It has been wonderful to hear the buzz of children’s voices throughout the school again. I am so proud of our children. This doesn’t happen by chance, it is down to the hard work our staff have put in and the preparations they have made to enable the children to feel safe and secure. Our staff have gone above and beyond in responding to these unprecedented times. They have truly demonstrated commitment and dedication to our school community. I really feel that this pandemic has brought out the good in many people.”
Richard Briggs, Headteacher at Baysgarth School, said:
“Pupils feel a mixture of anxiety and excitement about returning to school. We have had small groups of our year six students in school this week to get them used to their new learning environment and you can see this initial anxiety and nervousness soon give way to excitement.
“Parents and the local community have been very supportive. At the start of lockdown we donated face masks to the local doctor’s surgery and now we are in a position where the local community are donating face masks and food hampers to the school staff to say thank you for all the efforts we are making.
“It’s great to be part of a close-knit and supportive community like we have here in Barton and the villages.
“The staff have been absolutely superb and we are really proud of them. Teachers and support staff have gone above and beyond to support the students and the local community.
“We have worked closely with our primary partners over transition and know how hard they are also working to support communities. It’s a real team effort and we are very proud of the service we are providing to our students and the wider community.
“Our staff have been able to put on a ‘Baysgarth Show from Home’ involving over 100 students performing musical, art and dance pieces from home. They have recorded a special version of ‘Let it Be’ for the community to keep spirits high during lockdown and they have worked tremendously hard on setting work and providing feedback for the community”:
Take a look at the ‘Baysgarth Show from Home’ on Facebook.
Lesley Allwood, Executive Headteacher, Bridge Federation (Winteringham Primary School and South Ferriby Primary School), said:
“I am so grateful to the parents, and couldn’t be more proud of the children in the school. Parents have supported their children really well.
“Our teachers have done an incredible job, and want it to work, I can’t fault the commitment from all of our staff.
“We were ready, quickly bought in books we could send home and staff put together a PowerPoint of a week’s worth of lessons. This has continued and are now on week 10.”
Ben Lawrence, Headteacher at Frederick Gough School, said:
“Staff have been innovative, conscientious, caring, stoic and awesome. Some members of staff have been pushed out of their comfort zone and responded superbly.
“Our structural support is a weekly telephone call made by a team of LSAs (more for some pupils) to parents and/or pupils to check in on how they are doing.
“The impact on those calls for some families, particularly when we were not allowed to leave the house, has been immense both for learning and pastoral support.
“We still have assemblies every week where we have given top tips on virtual learning and preparing the correct mind set for lockdown, an email is sent to parents every week which also contains useful support information.”
Cllr Dave Rose, cabinet member for children, families and culture, said:
“It has been wonderful to see children in North Lincolnshire continue to flourish and learn through the support and dedication of their schools and teachers.
“Schools very quickly stepped up to the challenge and used innovative ways to teach and keep in touch. This wouldn’t have been possible without the support of parents and carers.
“Without the strength and commitment from our schools many key workers wouldn’t have been able to continue working. I’m sure I will be joined by many others in saying thank you to all school staff for everything you have done and continue to do.
“It’s amazing to see our school community, partners, parents and carers pull together to educate and keep our children safe and well.”
Peter Thorpe, Director of Learning, Skills and Culture at North Lincolnshire Council, said:
“Schools across North Lincolnshire have been nothing short of remarkable in responding to the challenges presented by Covid-19.
“Since the outset, school leaders have shown amazing determination in enabling children’s learning, keeping children connected to their friends and teachers, and making sure that vulnerable children are supported. Networks of schools have ensured access to childcare for key workers, including during periods that would ordinarily have been school holidays. Now that more pupils are attending schools, school staff have adapted brilliantly to the changing environment to support children and their families.
“As a council, we have worked closely with individual schools and area-wide education representatives to change the way that we do business – making this a real team effort.”
Parents have been positive about their children returning to schools:
- “The work has been great and the Covid changes in school has made my child feel safe. They were so excited to return to school. Just wanted to say thank you.”
- “I would like to take this opportunity to praise all the wonderful staff at Eastoft and Luddington schools for being absolutely fantastic during this unsettling time. I am a key worker working as a nurse in the NHS and the staff at both schools have been so supportive towards my family during the past three months I couldn’t have got through it without all their love and support which they have given my family. I would also like to take this opportunity to say how well Mrs Bassindale has done in organising everything from day one of school closing through to the organising and putting everything in place to reopen in such a timely manner. This school is amazing and I am very lucky that my children have the opportunity to attend such a wonderful school with fantastic teachers.”
- “School has been fantastic. They have kept my three children safe and happy whilst in school. I am a key worker and the school have gone the extra mile to help me with childcare so I can go to work. Some days there were only my three children in school and they have come home and said how much fun they have had putting tents up on the school field and having a camp fire with marshmallows. All the teachers at Eastoft Primary School deserve a massive pat on the back for all their hard work. Thank you so much.”
- “The school has gone above and beyond to accommodate everybody and my children are extremely happy to be back in school. They feel very safe and come home happy and relaxed. Thank you for everything you have done.”
- “My little boy went back to school from the year one stage return and I was so nervous for how he would feel not having many of his peers in his class but he loved it from day one. I told him he didn’t have to go back if it made him unhappy but just try a few days. After his first day he said with a great big beam on his face “I think I will try seven days and see how I get on” then on a weekend would want to be back at school.”