VIRTUAL learning will begin again next week after an unprecedented Easter holiday of supporting the community by a Blyth academy.
The continuation of the national lockdown will see Bede Academy open for up to 60 students who are the children of key workers, while the majority will receive as close as possible to the normal school day online.
Primary academy principal Bethan Harding said: “Our school is at the heart of the community and we are here to support the community in any way we can. The response to the impact of the pandemic by Bede Academy staff has demonstrated how much they care and families have been truly touched by their efforts.”
Principal of the senior academy Andrew Thelwell added: “The way of working has changed dramatically but our aims of offering excellence in the community, curriculum and character have not.”
Before the academy closed, Bede students and families nominated people in the community they knew to be vulnerable and cheery kindness cards were made and sent to them.
Catherine Patrick, mother of students Olivia and Sophia, said: “The girls nominated an elderly couple who live on our street who are absolute legends, but we knew that the gentleman was already very poorly.
“They stuck the card up in the window with a big thank you sign next to it which was lovely to see. This couple are the heart and soul of our estate and the school’s amazing act of kindness brought some joy at this really hard time.”
The academy has also been supporting Blyth Foodbank becoming one of the places to drop off supplies. Hampers were given to some students to support them in the early days for the crisis.
Children of key workers were also supported in school over the holidays by the charity Youth for Christ while Morrisons donated Easter eggs.
Academy windows were decorated with rainbows in support of key workers and the engineering team spent the holidays making crucial PPE equipment for frontline staff.
As term restarts staff will again provide distance learning using Google classrooms with lessons uploaded and feedback and marking completed.
Mr Thelwell said: “The aim is to make this experience as close to the usual academy day as possible with assemblies, house competitions and messages from staff. This has been to a very high standard and parents and students are engaging extremely well. It is so heartening that parents have been openly grateful and complimentary about the provision and we are grateful for their support.”
Mrs Harding added: “Morning messages and assemblies help us all to think about our ‘character’ during this difficult time. We want this to be a time when we remember our community for their kindness, their determination and their responsibility. We are already hugely impressed by how our community has responded.”
Parents said staff had gone above and beyond expectations at a time when children may have been worried about the changes.
“The personal comments on all of their work and the encouraging messages to them have left them feeling so excited,” said Mrs Patrick.
“Every act of kindness is truly appreciated from the bottom of our hearts and I know this from all the other parents and carers too.
“We just want to thank Bede Academy and all the staff without exception for all their hard work and positivity at these challenging times. They are the best.”