Bradford school Principal thanks dedicated staff for community efforts during pandemic

The Principal of a Bradford primary school has revealed how teachers and school staff have been working around the clock to help vulnerable people during the coronavirus pandemic.

In March, the lockdown meant that schools were closed to the majority of pupils. But while pupil numbers may have been fewer, teachers and staff at High Crags Primary Leadership Academy in Shipley were working harder than ever to provide vital support to those in need in the local community.

Tonie Andrews – Pastoral manager, Helen Ray – Principal, Helen Neen – Pastoral Support Worker

Although for some, teachers will forever be associated with blackboards, fractions and times tables, recent difficulties have meant that teachers and support staff at the school have stepped out of their traditional roles to help alleviate suffering in the local area.

Instead of standing in front of a class filled with eager young pupils, staff have been packing boxes filled with essential food items, manning the school’s newly-established foodbank or arranging donations to help feed people in the local area.  The school also supplied PPE to Hallcroft local assisted living complex and children also sent Easter cards and letters to residents during Loneliness Awareness Week.

As well as providing home learning packs, caring teachers at the school have also been checking in with their pupils through weekly phone calls to ensure that pupils and families are staying safe and keeping well and have everything they need.

The changing role of educators during the coronavirus pandemic was highlighted by Helen Ray, Principal of High Crags Primary Leadership Academy, who said she had never been prouder of her dedicated team.

She said: “We understand that many members of our community are finding things really difficult in the current climate.

“The impact of lockdown, difficulties in arranging childcare and the changing job market have meant that many are suddenly facing financial hardship through no fault of their own. As the situation continues, we are seeing more people in our wider community starting to struggle.

“Our school is very much at the heart of our community and we cannot simply close our eyes when we see suffering. That is why we will do everything we can to help those in need.

“We have been very lucky with the support we have had. Our families are some of the kindest people in the area, and our Friends of High Crags Group has done a wonderful job of fundraising.  This, combined with the donations and support from our dedicated and caring staff, means that we all benefit from being part of a wonderful and supportive school community.

“We are like a big family and like many other families, when things get tough we pull together to offer support and this helps us all to be the very best we can.

“We have now opened the school to more pupils and are starting to see pupils return. Our staff are working extremely hard to make sure that school is still a fun and friendly place while remaining safe.

“I can honestly say I have never been prouder of my team than I am now. They have made a real difference to so many people in our community, and I am incredibly grateful to every single one of them for all their hard work.“

The schools’ charitable work was made possible by kind donations from Fare Share, Morrisons and ASDA as well as donations from other local businesses and individuals.

The charitable work undertaken at High Crags Primary Leadership Academy is just one of several initiatives that has been launched by Star Academies and its schools to help those facing difficulties in their local communities and to support parents and carers throughout the country.

For more information about Star Academies’ appeal and the charity pledges it has made to its pupils, parents, staff and school communities, please visit www.starcoronavirusappeal.org.