Portsmouth super head Ashley Howard brings school into children's homes with his own YouTube channel

A HEADTEACHER has set up his own YouTube channel and even taken on the role of temporary crossing patrol officer to help his pupils during the coronavirus crisis.

By Neil Fatkin
Tuesday, 31st March 2020, 10:16 am
Updated Tuesday, 31st March 2020, 3:25 pm

With schools having been closed to limit the spread of the disease, Highbury Primary School headteacher, Ashley Howard, decided that if pupils couldn’t come to school then he would bring school into their homes through his own YouTube channel.

After delivering his first online assembly on kindness, Mr Howard now hopes to provide a daily input to ‘put smiles on children’s faces’ and to prevent them becoming ‘too detached from school’. He also plans to use the channel to help children read bedtime stories.

‘While we’ve set children online lessons, delivering an assembly through YouTube is just another aspect of home learning. We usually have an assembly every Monday and so I thought it would be a good idea to continue this. During what is a difficult time it’s important for them to see a familiar face and not feel too detached from school,’ said Mr Howard.

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Highbury Primary School headteacher Ashley Howard

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The sessions are designed to be interactive with times allocated for children to discuss key points with parents and ask questions. The first assembly covered the message of kindness and the story of Keith the Cat who was being picked on by all the other cats.

Year 1 pupil, Frasier Williamson, six, said: ‘It was fun to see Mr Howard doing assembly. I’m looking forward to him doing the bedtime stories. I hope he reads Stickman. I have enjoyed learning from home and my favourite lesson has been maths.’

Year 6 pupil, Harry Cooper, said: ‘It was really nice to see Mr Howard as his assemblies are funny. Learning at home is different to being in school but my mum is doing a great job. In school you can partner up with friends and this is something which I miss.’

Working from home - Harry Cooper, 11 (left), mum, Josey Cooper, 32, with brothers Jack, 8, and Charlie, 4.

Mum, Josey Cooper, 32, has praised the school for their support in helping parents to home educate during the closure.

‘Having an assembly at the start of the day helps to maintain a normal structure and also allows children to stay in touch with their school family,’ she said. ‘Every day we receive a message with an update of what the children need to do. The lessons set online are a massive help – we would be lost without it.’

Mr Howard has already had to adapt his role due to the onset of coronavirus as he took on the role of the school’s crossing patrol officer after the regular officer had to self-isolate due to being in a ‘vulnerable group’.

Josey added: ‘He has shown his dedication to supporting children and parents at this difficult time.’

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