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Black Country school receives award for its response to pandemic

A Black Country secondary school has been awarded for its response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Pictured is Aaliyah Lewis, Anneka Johnson, principal Sukhjot Dhami, Karl Quiney and Kai Marsh

Beacon Hill Academy, in Sedgley, Dudley, was recognised for how it supported students during lockdowns.

The High Arcal Drive-based school quickly put into place remote learning programmes.

It also made regular wellbeing checks to students and their families.

In response, the school has received the 2021 Lockdown Hero Award for Learner & Community Support accolade from the Pearson National Teaching Awards.

School principal Sukhjot Dhami said: "This award is a testament to all the hard work, commitment and dedication of all the staff, parents and learners at Beacon Hill Academy.

"We are delighted to be recognised with this prestigious award and would like to thank in particular all the dedicated staff at the school on national Thank a Teacher Day."

During the three lockdowns, lessons were delivered to pupils virtually, broadcast through a computer programme called Microsoft Trams.

As the pandemic continued, the school improved its approach.

It blended live lessons with pre-recorded voice notes from teachers and face-to-face lessons for more than 200 students.

Alongside core subjects, the school also focused on wellbeing activities.

Mr Dhami and his staff carried out live cooking and PE lessons to keep students engaged at home.

Meanwhile, form tutors made regular phone calls to students and families to see how they were coping with lockdown, and if any support could be given.

Among the assistance provided by the school was: free school meals; a virtual sports day; virtual form times to keep students social; and a virtual parents evening.

Prizes were also handed out to keep students motivated.

This included Amazon vouchers ranging from £5 to £10 to £20, pizzas being delivered to students in leadership roles and phone calls from teachers praising student efforts.

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