The city’s schools are continuing to open their doors to support vulnerable children, those with the most complex special educational needs and the children of 'critical workers', and are working hard to support the vast majority of pupils who cannot attend during the pandemic so that they can continue their learning journey.
Like many schools, Bantock Primary began planning a few weeks before “lockdown”, compiling home learning plans specific to the needs of their children and outlining a routine of suggested activities.
Headteacher Harvey Sarai said: "We were keen not to suggest too much time using technology, and that the focus of our home learning plan should develop children’s life skills such as cooking and gardening, and activities that centred on creativity and mindfulness.
"Children of key workers and vulnerable pupils have continued to be supported at school and children from Reception to Year 6 have really enjoyed the chance to learn together.
“Activities have included maintaining the allotment, writing to residents in care homes, Easter crafts and joining Joe Wicks for a workout every morning. The parents of these children have expressed their appreciation repeatedly to the school, emphasising how the dedication of our staff members has supported them during this pandemic.
"We have also continued, with our catering service, to provide meals for all our children in school, and to weekly food parcels for all our free school meal children, from the first day of the closure and over the Easter break."
Senior staff from Eastfield Primary school also fed over 100 children eligible for free school meals during the Easter holidays. Deputy Headteacher Helen Bird said: "Even though none of our critical workers needed us during the Easter holidays, we were still busy supporting our families by providing weekly packed lunch hampers for our children, which have been gratefully received.
"We have also been posting daily activities on our Facebook page for our children and families to engage with, and we have now reopened to continue in our current role of providing childcare and weekly packed lunch hampers."
Enterprising children at St Michael's Church of England Primary School have set up a 'Giving Shed', with families encouraged to donate spare items of food and toiletries which could be shared with others. People are able to collect items as required while out for exercise.
Headteacher Kate Jackson said: "The children felt that this could be one way of us all supporting each other in what is a very strange and challenging time."
The staff of St Paul’s Church of England Primary School have branded their in school provision the ‘Rainbows in the Rain’ club. Headteacher Angela Daniel said: "Our teachers are enjoying the freedom to plan some great lessons for this mixed age group of about a dozen children.
"We have already had a variety of focus days including Harry Potter and the Meg and Mog books, STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths – and wellbeing themes.
“Over Easter, we ran the Rainbows in the Rain Club from our host school, St Michael’s Church of England Primary, and particularly focussed on the events of Holy Week and Easter celebrations – and our friends from Morrisons and St Paul’s Church thoughtfully gave Easter eggs for the children."
Staff and volunteers at Bushbury Hill Primary School have been working hard to ensure that weekly food hampers are delivered to 155 pupils each week. Headteacher Charlotte Underwood said: "Where once PE, drama, assemblies and lunch took place, our hall has been turned into a food storage and distribution factory; one day is dedicated to preparing food parcels and the next for delivering them.
“Nine dedicated staff members not only deliver them but also have contact with the children and parents each week to check on their wellbeing and spread the rainbow message of hope.
"Vulnerable children and those of key workers have been busy spreading that message of hope in school by displaying rainbow paintings for our community to see and donating paintings to Russells Hall Hospital. We are very proud of Emma Redford, who is an ex pupil working on ward B6, who has used the paintings to brighten up and send our message of hope to the ward for both the NHS staff and the patients."
Reception class children at Palmers Cross Primary School have created a colourful message reminding people to stay home, stay safe, wash their hands and protect their loved ones. Children and staff at Penn Kids have also been creative, making colourful banners which have gone on display outside the nursery.
Meanwhile, staff at the Thomas Telford UTC in Wolverhampton have been doing their bit by using its specialist equipment to produce visors for frontline workers.
Already, they have supplied these face shields to staff working at Coalway Road Surgery, Ettingshall Medical Centre, Penn Medical Centre, West Park Hospital, Cannock Hospital, Phoenix Health Centre, Wolverhampton Medical Practice and to the council's Meals on Wheels team.
Councillor Dr Michael Hardacre, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, said: "The response of all our city's schools to the coronavirus crisis has been exceptional; their work is ensuring our city's children and young people have every opportunity to continue to learn, whether that is in school or at home."
According to latest figures, 87% of schools in Wolverhampton are now rated either Good or Outstanding. To find out more about education in Wolverhampton, please visit Education and Schools.
The latest information and guidance around coronavirus is available at GOV.UK and on the council’s own coronavirus pages at Coronavirus advice and information. There’s lots of advice on how people can protect themselves and their families from coronavirus from the NHS at Advice for everyone – Coronavirus (COVID-19).
The council’s Stay Safe, Be Kind campaign offers clear and simple advice about how people can help themselves, and how they can support others who may be particularly vulnerable at this time. For more information, please visit Stay Safe, Be Kind.