The #CroydonTogether campaign is today saying a special thank you to schools, teachers and staff for everything they are doing to support their communities during the Covid-19 pandemic.
More than 50 Croydon schools will be staying open throughout the Easter holiday to continue to provide care for vulnerable children and those of critical workers. This is enabling parents and carers to fulfil vital roles in public services from the NHS and social care, to street cleaning and bin collection, at this crucial time.
Since the outbreak of Covid-19, schools boroughwide have gone above and beyond for their communities, providing not only education in the most challenging circumstances, but essential supplies, care and support for families in need.
Elmwood Infant School, which remains open throughout the Easter holiday, has been providing families in need – not just those eligible for the Government voucher scheme – with food parcels, organised through the school foodbank and with support from Legacy Youth Zone.
Headteacher Zoe Harris said: “We have been able to pick up a far wider group of families in need, whose finances are impacted because one or both parents are now on reduced hours or wages, or who may have no recourse to public funds.”
She also described how senior leaders have stayed in touch with children, phoning every pupil and their family at least once a week.
She said: “They are calling to see how they are and if there is anything they need – and to speak to the children, which is good for the staff’s wellbeing too.”
Jolyon Roberts, executive headteacher at Pegasus Academy Trust, described how six of their schools in the area have joined up to offer children eligible for free school meals, and their families, a hot meal to take away every day.
From a hub at Whitehorse Manor School, they have worked with their caterers Harrison to provide around 90 cooked lunches daily for children, their siblings and parents.
Jolyon said: “We don’t ask them how many children they have at Pegasus – we ask them how many meals they need.”
And Whitgift School are providing transport to take any excess meals to Wellington Road hostel, for homeless people in emergency accommodation.
School staff have also delivered more than 50 food parcels for families over the Easter break, made up of donations from the school community.
Jolyon said the school was ‘proud to play its part’ and had been ‘humbled’ by the offers of help it had received from others to get the system working.
He said: “Schools have stepped up to play their part – whether they are academies, local authority-maintained, faith schools or independent – we all know what we are here for. Schools are at the heart of their communities and we are not going to let those communities down.”
“I want to say a massive thank you to teachers and support staff in schools across Croydon for everything they continue to do at this most challenging time.
“Schools have always provided much more than education – they are at the heart of our communities and on the frontline of caring for our children and families. Their fantastic response to this public health crisis has highlighted all that they do. Most importantly, they are reaching out to their communities with kindness.
“We are so grateful to those working through Easter, including staff who are supporting children and young people behind the scenes – whether by streaming bedtime stories or simply, staying in touch. It all makes a huge difference.
“Finally, I want to pay tribute to our children and young people, whose lives have been hugely impacted and who have shown amazing resilience during the greatest challenge we have faced for a generation. You are not forgotten.”
Councillor Alisa Flemming, cabinet member for children, young people and learning