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Teachers on duty over Easter break

Schools in and around Newmarket are staying open through the Easter holiday as they continue to support the children of key workers.

A handful of pupils are still attending schools in the town, after the government told them to stay open so essential workers like doctors, nurses, and supermarket staff could continue to work.

With schools open, it means parents will not have to take extra time off to look after their children and can continue helping in the battle against Covid-19.

Class teacher Tim Coote and trainee teacher Liam Grimwood with pupils at Laureate Academy. Picture by Mark Westley.
Class teacher Tim Coote and trainee teacher Liam Grimwood with pupils at Laureate Academy. Picture by Mark Westley.

Houldsworth Valley Primary Academy and Laureate Community Academy have temporarily merged, and now pupils from both schools attend Laureate in Exning Road.

Both the schools are part of Unity Schools Partnership and between them, along with fellow member Ditton Lodge Primary, have had between 13 and 34 pupils attending.

David Perkins, Laureate’s headteacher, said with the lower attendance figures it ‘made sense’ to house the two schools under one roof.

“We are using separate classrooms for each school and pupils are still being taught by their own teachers. Both schools will remain open over Easter as we want to do all we can to support our local key workers,” he said.

“I would like to praise the hard work of all our staff and students, both those coming into school and those studying from home, who are going above and beyond at this time.”

Newmarket Academy, which is also part of the school trust, is closed.

Tim Coulson, partnership boss, praised school teachers for quickly adapting to the changes.

“The situation has brought out the best in the education sector as our staff have consistently gone over and above during what is, for all of us, a worrying time,” he said.

“I would also like to praise the response of students, both at home and also those who have still attended our schools, for their diligence and motivation towards their studies.”

Other town schools also remain open throughout the lockdown.

All Saints’ Primary School, in Vicarage Road, has had between six and ten children of key workers in per day depending on parent availability.

St Louis Catholic Academy in Fordhan Road has between three and eight pupils depending on the day.

Teresa Selvey, chief executive of Our Lady of Walsingham Catholic Academy Trust of which the school is part, said the number in children was lower than it first predicted.

“Parents have been incredibly supportive,” she said. “We have had some messages and staff have really stepped up and have been prepared to do things outside their normal and professional remit.”

She said the trust was also starting to work on how to integrate children back into school once the government allowed it to open again.

At Paddocks Primary School, about three children are attendingwith numbers dropping off from about 12 when schools first closed.

Deputy head Nick Wilson said he was “really proud of the sheer hard work and determined spirit of both staff and children to ensure things try and run as normally as possible in these exceptional times”.

The Staploe Education Trust, which runs the three Soham primary schools and the Village College as well as Kennett Primary School, has had up to 20 children attending. The Weatheralls andVillage College will stay open for any child of a key worker who needs to attend.

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