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Supporting Schools

Dear Friends
We hope this finds you and yours well. We’re into some interesting times! We hope you’re finding yourself able to make the necessary changes and adaptations to life and work – we’re all in this together and we’ll get through!
We wanted to share what we know about what’s currently going on in schools since they closed to most children and young people on Friday. But also to share some initial thoughts about how people like you, and your churches, can continue to support and bless your local schools at this time.
You probably know that schools are currently open to minimal numbers of pupils – those who are vulnerable and those whose parents are ‘key workers’. Early snapshot surveys suggest schools had between 1% and 20% of pupils attending. However this situation is potentially changeable as the needs of children and parents change – life is as unpredictable in schools as it is for all of us currently. Schools are mostly working on reduced staff numbers. Many schools have made amazing adaptations to children’s learning already (posting learning ideas online etc) and others are catching up. Some schools are reassuring parents that they are not intending to ‘deliver curriculum’ or teach anything new at this time as current circumstances mean that the children/yp would not be getting an equal opportunity to learn, with some at home and others with teachers in school. Some schools are looking to provide some structure to the day and to run learning activities for children in school and at home. Other schools have such low numbers attending that they are literally providing a childcare service where the children can choose what they’d like to do – the emphasis being on distraction rather than dwelling on all that’s going on. Each school will be different and each day could potentially be different.
We have a few idea/resources in the pipeline which could be used to support your school community – staff, parents and pupils. Once we have done a bit of research to check which things would be most useful to schools, we’ll be in touch – probably next week.
In the meantime, we would suggest that you email your school and let them know that you are thinking of them and praying for them:  
  • If appropriate you could ask if they have any specific prayer requests that can be shared with your church community – and then get praying! There are many signs that people – including those who wouldn’t normally attend church – are looking for hope and reassurance at the moment.
  • You could also ask if there’s anything the church could do to support the school as they cater for vulnerable children and children of ‘key workers’. One teacher we know of has ordered a skipping rope for all the children who are still attending the local primary school. Anything you do needs to be in discussion with and at the approval of the head teacher, and in line with current government guidelines regarding Covid 19.
  • Perhaps you could offer pastoral support to staff by phone/video.
  • You could suggest they use these prayer/reflection activities as a way of helping pupils to process what’s happening and as a spiritual development exercise: Prayer Spaces in Schools have also just launched Prayer Spaces at Home – prayer and reflection ideas for families learning together at home. They’ve posted 10 activities on their fb page and are currently developing a page on their website where lots more activities will be uploaded over the next few weeks:
We would advise AGAINST visiting school in person or taking anything into school. Schools have a huge responsibility to care for the children who are attending, their families and their staff. If schools have to close because someone attending the building becomes unwell, children will have to be diverted to other, unfamiliar schools. Let’s all stay away and avoid this situation.
We know that you may still be reeling from all that’s happened in the last week or so and you may not yet feel able to be in touch with your school quite yet. But hopefully these ideas will help if and once you do.
Take care for now,
Jane and Liz

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