Covid-19 may have closed the schools, but not the minds of children at Our Lady & St Patrick’s School, Maryport.

Children have grabbed the opportunities for a mix of old-fashioned learning, such as cooking and gardening, combined with a mix of hi-tech learning, as pupils become on-line scholars.

Using the web-based Class Dojo system, each teacher at the school has been inundated with photos of what their pupils are getting up to at home.

Being stuck indoors doesn’t seem to have hampered the learning with cooking and baking skills developing on a daily


Teacher Fran Walker said: “The photos I have been receiving via Class Dojo have been making me extremely hungry – some children have been preparing whole meals for their family, while others have been making delicious cakes.”

Parents have used their special skills too. Dean Bell, has continued the science teaching of his son Ayden, 10, who was busy studying electricity before school was closed.

Dean, an electrician, has taken up the reins at home so Ayden has been continuing his learning using circuits and voltmeters, finding out the surprising electrical charge of a potato and carrying out practical work using a camera and laser pen to even write his name in the dark.

Leah Ackerley’s family have supported her at home by recreating almost every school subject, including PE, art, writing and maths. She has been kept busy both inside and in her garden, designing and building her own birdhouses.

Layla Smith, aged 10, and brother Austin, aged six, like millions of children across the country, have been kept busy exercising with Joe Wicks’s daily PE lessons live on YouTube. Dad Gary, said: “It’s been a good way to start the day, burning off some of their energy. The kids love it and its something we can all join in together, as a family.”

Maths and English learning has continued with children completing home learning packs and receiving updates and new resources online directly from their class teacher.

The school has subscribed to lots of resources that children can access at home, for example children are set personalised learning activities and homework by their class teacher, via the My Maths website.

Teachers then monitor the children’s responses and provide feedback personally to each child. The free resource shares an intriguing or exciting picture with the nation accompanied by a short piece of imaginative text.

There are short grammar and writing activities connected to the image, but its real worth is that there is a brand new picture and text every day, making this a short but fun literacy task that children can do independently, from home every single day.

Layla has been doing this frequently – her mum Leanne Foster explained: “Layla’s curiosity is really piqued by these unusual images so her writing is really creative, while as a parent, I love the simplicity of it – there is no need to remember any passwords or logins.”

Year 6 are also trialling a new on-line reading resource called Reading Plus. Children log in and read a variety of articles that are tailored at their exact reading level. After each article, children answer comprehension questions, then are given feedback with each future article building in small steps to make their reading more fluent and to develop understanding. Already, children in the class have made rapid progress, moving up level after level.

Art skills have been developed with a range of artwork being sent in – some children have designed their own Easter windows at home, showing support for our wonderful NHS workers, together with the Easter theme of hope.

Hilary Long, head of school, said, “We were all a bit nervous about learning from home, but the children have exceeded our expectations – it has been amazing to see the fabulous learning that has taken place. We are very proud of them.”

Despite the school being closed, staff have been busy behind the scenes. Mrs Long explained, “We have kept the lines of communication open, providing speedy support to the problems some parents have experienced, for example liaising with secondary schools, organising lunch vouchers and help with home learning. As any new changes develop, we share this with our pupils on Facebook; we have even created our own fun photographic Easter message from the staff at home to the pupils, to show we are thinking of them in this difficult time.”