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Bourne Westfield Primary Academy staff overwhelmed by support during huge lockdown challenge

Primary school staff were close to tears after arriving at work to find an oversized message of support from grateful pupils and parents.

Adam Knowles and his three children, Matilda (8), Arla (6) and Elliott (3), spent around five hours making the signs last weekend to show their appreciation for Bourne Westfield Primary Academy.

Adam then left the house at 5am on Monday to ensure the huge ‘Thank you Westfield Warriors’ message was in place before staff arrived to start their working week.

Arla, Elliott and Matilda with their heartfelt handiwork for Bourne Westfield Primary Academy staff.
Arla, Elliott and Matilda with their heartfelt handiwork for Bourne Westfield Primary Academy staff.

Bourne Westfield headteacher Kate Atkinson said: “We were so delighted that a parent and their children had first thought about it and then took the time to make it and put it there.

“The staff were completely overwhelmed and some were close to tears.

“We have had so much support. It has been really humbling to have all these cards, emails and messages on Facebook from parents.”

While able to use key worker status to keep their children in school and pre-school, Adam opted to home school to limit the pressure on staff.

“I used to be a teacher and it was hard enough without all of this. It must be really stressful," he said.

"They have to function a normal class and do remote learning as well.

“You have to really love it to be doing it, and it’s clearly obvious they do."

He added: “It has been a really emotional time for the kids, they have been up and down like yo-yo's.

“We talked about how hard the teachers were working, and our eldest Matilda also pointed out how they were putting themselves at risk, so they wanted to say thanks.

“I felt like a thief because I snook out of the house with a headtorch under cover of darkness to put the signs up before the teachers arrived."

After the list of key workers was broadened for the third national lockdown, the school is now running at around 30 per cent of normal pupil capacity, compared to 12 per cent under last year’s first lockdown.

This coupled with co-ordinating remote learning, means the school has had to maintain its normal teaching staff levels.

“It has been a big difference,” Miss Atkinson said.

“Last time we were able to rota our staff, but this time everyone is in, trying to keep the class numbers small.

“We haven’t had to turn anyone away, so at the moment we are able to operate as normal and offer places to those who need them.

“We are finding it incredibly hard work, as are all schools in the local area, but the staff have been absolutely amazing from every sector.

“Everyone is working so hard, from cleaners to the administrative staff and those providing hot meals, to teachers and teaching assistants making sure lessons are spot on for those at home and in the classroom.”

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