Learning through Lockdown: how Nottinghamshire schools rose to the challenge of COVID-19
Teachers, teaching assistants, and other school staff, across Nottinghamshire have been hard at work during the COVID-19 pandemic, coming up with innovative solutions to help our children and young people to continue to learn remotely, and to support children, parents, families and communities.
Many dedicated school staff have continued working throughout school and bank holiday periods to engage pupils, either remotely, or in person, while schools were open to the children of keyworkers.
Schools adapted quickly to guidance from the Department for Education (DfE), coming up with creative ways to communicate, set lessons, and play their part in minimising any risks from the coronavirus. As well as using school websites, videos, blogs, and online platforms to continue children’s education, many schools have also used social media or telephone conversations to keep in contact with parents and pupils.
Schools have also been sending out physical work packs, with some even providing laptops and tablets to children who otherwise wouldn’t have been able to access online lessons. Schools also helped with organising free school meal vouchers, for pupils learning at home.
St Giles School in Retford is a school for pupils with special educational needs. They have been providing online resources, and holding virtual assemblies and classes, since the beginning of the lockdown.
Our special school Heads worked together from the start of lockdown and schools such as St Giles, Ashlea, and Fountaindale shared their support and expertise so successfully that parents of children with special needs, from mainstream schools, approached them for additional help and support while their children were at home during the pandemic.
Special school staff have also been delivering medication, school meal vouchers and specialist equipment to those who need them.
Sally Maddison, Headteacher at Sir John Sherbrooke Junior School, in Calverton, reused inflatable costumes left over from previous World Book Days to lift pupils’ spirits during the lockdown at virtual assemblies, dressing up as a dinosaur, rainbow, a rocket, and more.
Staff at Queen Elizabeth's Academy, in Mansfield, donated some of their PPE equipment to the midwifery team at Kings Mill Hospital’s maternity unit.
Through teacher networks in the East Midlands, the Academy’s science department spread the word, inspiring other schools to do the same. School staff as far away as Berkshire were involved, as hundreds of pairs of eye protectors and gloves were donated.
Staff at Retford Oaks Academy produced plastic face protectors to support the work of NHS and care workers.
Schools took positive action to maintain links with their children, for example Bramble Academy and William Gladstone Academy delivered Easter eggs to pupils. Primary and secondary tutors wrote letters, sent emails, made phone calls and even made socially distanced visits.
Alternative education providers provided similar online learning, work packs and maintained regular contact with their learners.
These are just a few examples from many we’ve heard about from across the county, with staff often going the extra mile to help during the pandemic.
Each school has responded to the lockdown situation in a unique way, by working creatively and collaboratively, in partnership with parents. They have enabled children and young people to continue to access learning, have supported the work of key workers, and maintained a sense of community during lockdown.
Thank you to staff at schools all around Nottinghamshire, for everything you’ve done and continue to do.
You can find more details and more stories about what’s been happening in schools at: