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Academy trust praised for leading way in Covid-19 crisis

By Heather Large | Halesowen | Education | Published:

An academy trust has been praised by Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the School System, Baroness Berridge, for its work in supporting its pupils and the community during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dawn Haywood

All schools belonging to the Halesowen-based Windsor Academy Trust ensured every pupil had the tools they needed to carry on their learning from home as soon as sites began to close their gates.

This included using Google Classroom to enable students to follow their normal timetables and learning, providing Chromebooks and dongles to students who didn’t have laptops or where internet access was an issue, and creating a dedicated parent, student and staff website to support remote learning and wellbeing.

In the letter, Baroness Berridge personally thanked all staff across the academy trust for “ensuring that all pupils could continue to study the curriculum from day one of the school closures by providing IT equipment”.

Deputy chief executive and education director, Dawn Haywood, said planning in the event of a national lockdown had begun early to ensure schools were in the best position to support their pupils.

"We started to do quite a bit of planning from February onwards," she said.

Dawn Haywood

"Central to that planning was making sure that all young people could learn if lockdown was to happen."

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The academy trust provided the technology to those who needed it so that all 7,000 pupils at its nine schools could be taught remotely by their own teachers via virtual classrooms.

Dawn Haywood with the letter sent to them from Elizabeth Berridge acknowledging their work during lockdown

“Every single young person from the point of lockdown was able to follow their normal curiculum through Google Classroom," she added.

“We had fantastic engagement from young people from the word go as soon as lockdown started."

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The letter sent to them from Elizabeth Berridge acknowledging their work during lockdown

Leaders also put systems in place to ensure the wellbeing of students was being continually monitored.

“Every week they would score themselves from one to 10 - 10 being very happy and one not very happy," she added.

"Every pupil that scored themselves below four would get a phone call straight away.”

Heather Large

By Heather Large
Special projects reporter - @HeatherL_star

Senior reporter and part of the Express & Star special projects team specialising in education and human interest features.

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