Head teacher describes how she has adapted her school to help children learn during the pandemic

A Wrexham head teacher has described how she has adapted the way her school works to ensure children continue their education during the current coronavirus pandemic.

Amanda Williams, who is the head teacher of Park County Primary School in Llay, near Wrexham, has spoken of the ways in which she is transforming the way her school delivers lessons as its staff and pupils find themselves facing the challenges imposed by lockdown.

She said: “The effect of the Coronavirus lockdown on schools was unanticipated and instantaneous. Before, schools were busy thriving communities available to all, full of animated effervescent groups of people all growing, learning and developing together.

“School buildings have now become deserted shells, with abandoned classrooms and learning areas that were once vibrant, engaging and dynamic hives of activity now lying idle. An array of beautiful learning resources are eagerly awaiting the return of learners to rejuvenate them to their intended purposes.”

However, despite the silence which has descended upon many school buildings,  Amanda – who graduated from Wrexham Glyndŵr University with an MA in Education which she studied for alongside her teaching work – has described the huge amount of work she, her colleagues, and fellow teachers up and down the country are undertaking to ensure children can still be helped to learn at home.

She added: “Teachers are accustomed to being industrious, engaging communicators responding to a continuous assortment of diverse requests with encouragement, empathy and stimulation.

“Now, all are working remotely and energies and commitments are directed towards facilitating learning through technological platforms such as Google Classroom, Seesaw, Dojos, and so on.

“Staff are attempting to predict the well-being and needs of the children-excitedly providing feedback, praise and encouragement where possible. Colossal efforts are being made to secure the engagement of learners through a range of videos, messages and telephone calls.”

Amanda added that she and her fellow teachers are working to ensure children are able to return to school physically – and to try to reach what she has described as a ‘new normal’

She added: “School leaders are working hard to devise strategies and systems that will allow children to return to their schools as safely as possible.

“Security and confidence needs to be available for the school communities to allow a ‘new normal’ to be created. Schools are used to adapting and accommodating new policies and procedures as often, they are places where change is the only constant.”

Wrexham County Borough Council’s Chief Officer for Education and Early Intervention, Ian Roberts, added: “I would like to pass on my thanks to Amanda and to all our teaching staff who have continued to adapt to very different teaching circumstances.

“They are all committed to their profession and are determined to ensure that children across Wrexham have been able to learn whilst they are at home.

“Schools are currently  looking how they can re-open schools safely when the time comes and we are all supporting them with this work.”

Senior lecturer in Education at Wrexham Glyndwr University, Abigail Schwarz, added: “The work that teachers and school leaders, like Amanda, are doing to help keep children educated – and to prepare schools for their return – is invaluable.

“We have been delighted to welcome Amanda as a guest lecturer on both the PGCE and BA Primary Education (QTS) courses, to pass on her knowledge and share her continued passion and expertise.

“As a Masters graduate of Glyndŵr, she is able to offer insight into both academic studies and primary school practice. Our students are in the very best of hands.”

If you are interested in Postgraduate Study at Wrexham Glyndwr University, an online experience event  – where you can chat to lecturers and admissions staff and discover more about Postgraduate, professional and part-time courses –  will be held on Wednesday, June 10 between 4pm and 6pm.

To find out more – or to book your place – visit: https://www.glyndwr.ac.uk/en/PGOpenEvenings/