Hampshire and Portsmouth schools show support for fellow key workers by vowing to remain open over Easter holidays

TEACHERS have shown their support for front line workers in the fight against coronavirus by volunteering to keep schools open for key worker children over Easter.

By Neil Fatkin
Wednesday, 1st April 2020, 12:44 pm
Updated Wednesday, 1st April 2020, 6:04 pm

Hampshire County Council and Portsmouth City Council have responded to the Department for Education’s request by confirming they will be keeping provision in place over the fortnight break, including Good Friday and Easter Monday.

Portsmouth’s cabinet member for education, Cllr Suzy Horton, said: ‘The council has been working with schools and we have come up with arrangements to ensure provision for all our Key Worker children over the Easter holidays.

‘I’m immensely proud of all our teaching and support staff and their commitment to supporting our NHS and other critical workers on the front line.’

Headteacher at Crofton School, Simon Harrison, has said more staff have volunteered to come in over the Easter holiday than is actually needed. Picture: Loughlan Campbell

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Headteacher at Lyndhurst Junior School, Ali Beechurst, confirmed the school always planned to remain open for key workers.

Mrs Beechurst said: ‘We’ve always assumed we’d be open over Easter and have been working on this premise. As a staff we have an amazing team spirit and know we are needed at this time. It’s not just teachers but all our support and admin staff who are committed to ensuring this is maintained.’

It’s a similar situation across the county with headteacher at Crofton School, Simon Harrison, confirming ‘far more staff have volunteered than were actually needed’.

Headteacher at Horndean Technology College, Julie Summerfield, has said everyone is doing their bit to support Key Workers in dealing with the virus. Picture by: Malcolm Wells

‘From our perspective as a school we are happy to support our key workers. Anything we can to do to make life easier for them working on the front line then we are only too happy to do so,’ said Mr Harrison.

Fellow headteacher at Horndean Technology College, Julie Summerfield, added: ‘We are working on a rota basis and we’ve had staff volunteering to come in even when they are not timetabled. Everybody is doing their bit to support our Key Workers to hopefully get on top of this virus so we can all get back to normal school life as soon as possible.’

Hampshire County Council’s executive member for education, Roz Chadd said: ‘Knowing their children are being safely looked after by schools is important for key workers.’

Portsmouth City Council's cabinet member for education, Cllr Suzy Horton, is 'immensely proud' of teacher's efforts during the coronavirus crisis. Picture: Habibur Rahman

The National Education Union has been involved in negotiations with councils over schools remaining open. While certain stipulations - such services being offered voluntarily and ensuring teachers do get some time off in lieu - have made made, the largest teaching union is in agreement with schools remaining partially open during Easter.

Union president and Portsmouth teacher, Amanda Martin, said: ‘We’ve always been in agreement that schools should remain open over Easter for Key Worker children.’

Councils and headteachers have reiterated that children should only attend school if there is no other option.

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