TEACHERS and students in Cumbria have been faced with monumental challenges in responding to the coronavirus pandemic.

From home learning to socially distanced corridors, it’s been a challenging six months for everyone involved.

David Spruce, headteacher at Appleby Primary School, acknowledges the positives and negatives of the Covid-19 lockdown.

“Children have been brilliant since they came back and have adhered to the control measures to keep everybody safe,” he explained.

“They all seem very happy to be back to some kind of normality.

“We have not seen high levels of anxiety, we might see a small minority of children struggling but most are better now they are back in the swing of things.

“But it is important to stress that there have been a great many positives as a result of the coronavirus lockdown.

“Children have been at home in the last six months and have spent time with families that they wouldn’t have been able to do usually when they are off to football or gymnastics.

“Parents being at home has meant they’ve been able to spend more time with their families. It is not all doom and gloom.

“Particularly with the gaps in learning. I am confident our profession takes this task very seriously and as a profession I have every confidence that over time children will address the gaps in their learning.”

One of the ways the school is dealing with students having to self-isolate is to use technology to ensure children at home still feel connected to their classroom and their teachers.

“We might have some children at home waiting for the outcome of a test and we want to be able to still teach them, so we have invested in a virtual learning platform which allows teachers to keep in regular contact with children.

“They check up on children three times a day.

“All you need is a smartphone, which most families have got. We also have work in a school book that can be sent home and sent back and marks and responses can be emailed.

“If they want additional help and the teacher is teaching the rest of the class, they can alert them on the programme.”

Schools are required to put measures in place to ensure learning can continue in the event of another lockdown.

Mr Spruce is confident his school will overcome the challenges it faces.

“We’ve spent time assessing the gaps in learning and have made programmes for the whole of school. Obviously there are some gaps there but the important thing for us isn’t what they are, it is how we are going to address those gaps in learning over the course of this term and year.”

“The Department for Education expect schools to deliver a broad curriculum, they want us to offer the full national curriculum.