By Betsy Everett
Children at a small Dales primary school are learning valuable lessons in life because of the coronavirus, says their head teacher.
Hanna Vasey said some of the new routines staff and children at Hawes Primary School were getting used to would continue after the pandemic is over. Instead of bemoaning the restrictions, staff have used them to expand the learning experience of their young pupils.
“We have taught them about the importance of increased hand-washing and social distancing. We are teaching them about physical and mental health for good well-being. We are supporting then to ‘catch-up’ on lost learning whilst also maintaining the creative subjects such as art and cooking. We are delighted that our catch-up plan is going well and that we are able to keep the children as happy and safe as possible in these unprecedented times,” said Miss Vasey, who turned the school around when she was appointed head four years ago after it was placed in special measures by Ofsted,
Their efforts appear to have paid off: attendance at the school is running at an “amazing” 97.8 per cent says chair of governors, Jan Linsley, compared with figures from the department of education showing national attendance standing at just 82.9 per cent towards the end of November.
“In recent conversations between governors and teachers the children say they are happy to be back at school and enjoying their learning. I’m delighted that children and parents have such confidence in the school. It’s a validation of everything we are doing to keep the children safe and to ensure that their learning is active, creative and enjoyable,” she said.
Last year was very different, according to Miss Vasey.
“The school was very publicly celebrating its “good” Ofsted judgement, after some difficult years. But we are being creative in adapting to the current situation: the children are enjoying using outside space more regularly and learning about how to live with the virus,” she said.
The school, part of The Yorkshire Collaborative Academy Trust, was judged to be good in every area last September including early years provision, quality of teaching and learning, personal development, behaviour and welfare, and effectiveness of leadership and management.