'Staff have pulled together': How this Hartlepool primary has kept pupils engaged during lockdown
A primary school headteacher has praised her staff for being there for children during the coronavirus lockdown.
Despite most pupils of St Cuthbert’s RC Primary School in Stratford Road learning at home for much of the last four months, staff have led numerous activities for home-schooled pupils while also taking care of key worker and vulnerable children on site.
Headteacher Joanne Wilson said: “At St Cuthbert’s the staff have pulled together to ensure our children were well supported during lockdown.
"Each member of staff set up a private Facebook group for parents providing daily challenges and stories, even reading to little ones at bedtime, and have been supporting parents with tasks at home and ensuring a fitness challenge each day too.”
All staff took part in calls with their pupils at home to chat and check on their wellbeing, while children in school have completed all sorts of work on a different topic each week.
A reading challenge was completed by 62 children who received certificates from the library service.
Reception teacher Claire Mudd said keeping the link between school and home was vital.
She said: “Each morning I would go live and do a familiar song for children to move and dance to.
"At 6.30pm I then went live again and read a bedtime story to the children. It was greatly received by families and it kept a little bit of normality for the children during this very challenging time.”
More than half pupils are now back at St Cuthbert’s with the return of Years 6, 1, reception and nursery to schools in June.
They learn in small groups known as bubbles limited to a maximum class size of 12.
Around 100 children are still homeschooling.
Ms Wilson added: “School is different as we now wash hands before and after each session and in entering school.
“We also ensure social distancing where possible. There is more outdoor learning now as that’s safer and the children are thriving from being in small classes, having routine and most of all being safe.
“The local authority and other schools have supported each other so well across Hartlepool especially in following the government guidance and ensuring safety for staff.”