The new Springhead Park Primary School, nestled within Ebbsfleet Garden City, has been working hard to keep pupils and families still feeling part of the school community throughout lockdown, when in-person attendance has been limited to vulnerable and key worker children.
The school only opened its doors for the first time in September. With so much disruption from the pandemic, it could have been difficult to create and sustain a real community feel, but staff and parents have worked together to make it happen.
Keen to cheer everyone up during this winter lockdown, staff created a new video for pupils, featuring staff performing to the Elton John classic “I’m still standing”, led by Head Teacher Wayne Clayton himself in dressing gown and sunglasses. Watch it here
Parents and children were delighted, leading parents from the Reception class to surprise staff with a video of the children performing to Pharrell Williams’ “Happy”. Wayne received the video in his email inbox, with subject line “Surprise!”. He immediately shared it with staff who were blown away and grateful for the tremendous show of support from families.
The School has also taken part in a remarkable lockdown community storytelling project. They wrote a story together line by line, illustrated it, narrated it and their story, The Monsters, is now live online.
Pupils have really engaged with their remote learning as well, with parents helping to ensure high attendance rates, and teachers presenting live lessons through Microsoft Teams. The school has found a way to help keep pupils in touch with each other and keep their social development active, using social channels on Teams to create what are essentially breakout room playgrounds, so smaller groups of children can meet and chat, supervised by staff as they would be at normal playtime. This is part of ensuring children’s language development and social relationships can stay active despite the challenges of lockdown.
This has proved especially vital for Nursery and Reception children, whose school journeys have only just begun and yet have already been through so much disruption. The School’s focus on ensuring strong Early Years remote provision is so important for these children who are so early in their development.
Lockdown has demonstrated just how strong the expertise and high-quality provision is across the school is, from Nursery upwards, and just how much the community is there to support each other. Whilst the school looks forward to welcoming all children back to school on 8th March, their community is definitely still standing.
Wayne Clayton, Head Teacher, Springhead Park Primary School, said: “Building a school community from scratch has been an absolute joy, and as much as we’ve been disappointed by the disruption caused by the pandemic, we haven’t let it stop us.
“I am so proud of our pupils, staff and parents for really pulling together through all of this. We will be welcoming all our children back soon, and before we know it, come September, we’ll be welcoming even more new pupils to our growing school community.”