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Being at school during the Coronavirus pandemic

Published: 9th April 2020

Although it’s technically the first week of the Easter holidays, many children across the Diocese will remain in school both this week and next as schools have committed to remaining open for the children of key workers as well as vulnerable children.

Bishop Perowne CE College in Worcester has seen between 12 and 18 children attending each day, depending on parents’ shifts. Headteacher, Mark Pollard, said:

“We’ve got the children of a range of different key workers; for example, NHS staff, police and probation officers as well as some of our most vulnerable children and they’re a mix of ages. In a straw poll of secondary schools across Worcestershire the other day, we had the most young people in.”

Teachers have been setting work for all their students online, so staff in school have been supervising the children completing that as well as taking part in a range of more light-hearted activities.

“It’s important to ensure we keep to social distances, but we’ve been having a go at badminton with gloves on, a bit of art and cooking in different rooms. In the afternoon there’s a chance for the young people to have a bit of free time, listen to music or to work on individual projects.” 

The catering team at the school is providing hot meals for everyone on site at lunchtime as well as for those who are at St Barnabas CE Primary next door. There are around 4 – 5 members of staff on duty each day on a rota system, including a first aider and a senior leader each day.

“We asked staff whether they were prepared to come in and were bowled over by the number who volunteered,” continued Mark. “We have been careful not to include anyone who is vulnerable themselves or who lives with someone who might be. Alongside supervising the young people, we’ve also made sure there is always someone answering the phone. We’ve had a range of queries and have become a bit of a hub to support the community.

Staff morale is pretty good, anyone not in school is working from home and is answering queries by email and holding the occasional video conferencing lesson. We are using social media to communicate regularly with parents and have a list of children that we are contacting regularly to make sure they are OK. It is the year 11 students who are finding it most difficult. They left devastated and it was too short notice for us to really organise any kind of farewell for them. They are worried about how they will be awarded their grades – something they now have no control over. However, we are working hard to do our best in this area and are meeting regularly and studying spreadsheets to help our young people receive the grades they deserve.” 

Page last updated: Thursday 28th May 2020 8:13 PM

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