Headteacher 'blown away' by efforts to keep school going in lockdown

Ben Hodson is the headteacher for St Mary's School in Eynesbury, St Neots. 

Ben Hodson is the headteacher for St Mary's School in Eynesbury, St Neots. - Credit: ST MARY'S SCHOOL

A primary school headteacher in St Neots says he has been 'blown away' by the dedication of his staff during lockdown.

Ben Hodson, headteacher of St Mary's Church of England Primary School , praised his staff for going ‘above and beyond’ to ensure pupils received the very best education during lockdown.

He said: “All our school staff and governing body have been exceptionally supportive, understanding and accommodating during lockdown, going above and beyond to ensure our pupils receive the very best education.

“They’ve remained in good spirits right the way through and it is so positive how the community has come together during these difficult times.

“We have been so impressed with the determination of the children and their families to get the most of their education at home – we have been blown away by their positivity.”

The school, which teaches 114 pupils from nursery age to Year 6, has been using the Dojo educational app to maintain the children’s learning while away from the classroom.

Mr Hodson said: “Our families were already familiar with the Dojo app so was easy for them to adapt - it’s a free system they can download on their mobile phones that connects teachers to pupils and parents.

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“The school has also made sure all of our families have the equipment to learn at home.

“We have had a 98 per cent uptake for remote learning, which is really impressive.”

The school has also gone to great lengths to keep close contact with families and act as a helping hand to guide them through lockdown.

“The teachers have been creating short, bespoke videos for the children that they can re-watch later on,” said Mr Hodson, “Teachers also give daily feedback on their work.

“Being a church school, we also have live, daily collective worship and have hosted our usual school celebration every Friday, broadcast to the whole community.”

Every week, pupils and their parents were called by their class teacher to make sure they were getting the most out of their remote learning and to ensure families are coping with home schooling.

The school also employed a family worker to provide counselling and parental advice for additional support.

“The school has kept running and children have continued learning – they are just not physically in the classroom, said Mr Hodson.

“But there is no place like school for children to learn and we were excited to see them all return.”