School in Custom House supporting children of key workers during coronavirus lockdown

Paige Tomlinson from Royal Docks Academy hard at work during the coronavirus schools shutdown. Pictu

Paige Tomlinson from Royal Docks Academy hard at work during the coronavirus schools shutdown. Picture: Kelly Clark - Credit: Archant

A headteacher has praised his staff for going “above and beyond” to keep their Custom House school open for children of key workers.

Since the school closures due to the coronavirus crisis, Royal Docks Academy on Prince Regent Lane has been catering for up to five pupils each day.

Those attending school are working on numeracy and literacy through specialisms such as science and taking part in exercises to keep active.

Teaching, site and office staff have made themselves available to keep the school operating on a rota system.

However, associate headteacher Matt Carter said he has been inundated with offers from all departments of the school to help whenever needed.

He said: “Our teachers have a real appreciation of how hard this will be for students, especially for year 11, whose education just ended suddenly.

“This is a moment of realisation just how much everyone needs each other, particularly our students.

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“We have a lot of vulnerable people in our society and everyone is realising the amount of solace and support they get from our school.”

Leading up to Easter, students have been given work to do from home, and there are plans to step up learning provision after the break with the introduction of virtual lessons.

Mr Carter said all resources were uploaded to the school website in anticipation of a potential shutdown, to ensure each year group would have access to learning material for every subject.

He added: “We felt that would make it easier for parents, too, as it is tough for them as they are not used to educating at home.

Staff and pupils are using the Microsoft Teams platform to communicate and collaborate, allowing teachers to upload specific resources to their classes.

Tech-savvy teachers have contacted pupils to get them set up on the platform, so they can organise group chats and audio learning.

Mr Carter said: “It has forced us to embrace learning in a different way.

“Even if we are back in school sooner than predicted, this has set us up for the future to promote more independent learning from home, different ways of revising and supporting students outside of class.”