REAch2 Marks World Teachers’ Day 2021 By Applauding How Their Family Of Schools Adapted To Remote Teaching During The School Closures

Without a doubt, the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed quite a few things, but for parents perhaps more than anything else it has proved the true value of teachers. Social media platforms were full of eye-opening tweets and hilarious memes expressing just how much teachers were worth.

In all seriousness, however, for teachers, remote learning became an overnight top priority and one that was crucial to get right. Educators across the country were having to learn new ways of teaching that hadn’t been experienced before.

In REAch2, across all 60 of our schools, a variety of online tools were being used but colleagues felt that they could and should be doing more for their children to access high-quality teaching and learning, albeit from the confines of their homes.

Enter Phoenix Software, which delivered bespoke training to enable our schools to develop their remote teaching strategies using a range of remote teaching tools all available on Microsoft teams.

Whilst ‘ confidence in pandemic teaching strategies’ is not something that our teachers would have predicted to be putting on their CVs a few years ago, it is something that they should be hugely proud of. We certainly are.

So to all our teachers, school leaders, the central team staff that supported the development of our remote offer, and to Phoenix software who improved our skills, knowledge, and confidence in remote teaching strategies, a very happy World Teachers’ day to you all.

Academy trust installs community fridges to feed hungry pupils

Teachers say they’re encountering more and more pupils coming to school hungry – prompting one academy trust to install community fridges to help feed youngsters and their parents.

The pilot scheme is being tried out at five primary schools in Suffolk and Essex which are part of the Reach2 Academy Trust.

If it proves to be a success, it could be rolled out to all 59 of its academies across the region.

An image of an open fridge showing fruit and vegetables inside.

Steve Lancashire, Chief Executive Officer of Reach2 Academy Trust, said during a recent visit to one of the trust’s schools, he was left “heartbroken” by one boy’s story.

I was in one of our schools on Monday and I sat next to a little boy to have a breakfast club. He said to me ‘I’m hungry because I didn’t eat last night‘.

I asked him why was that and he said ‘my mum didn’t have any food in and she didn’t have any money to buy any last night‘.

Of course that’s heartbreaking and to hear that, as an educationalist, we want to do something about it.”

– Sir Steve Lancashire, Chief Executive, REAch2 Academy Trust

Unity Primary Academy in Colchester is one of the five schools trialling the community fridges.

The community fridge at Unity Academy Primary in Colchester Credit: ITV News Anglia

(The community fridge at Unity Academy Primary in Colchester Credit: ITV News Anglia)

Its catering manager Chelsey Gardner says stories of hunger are becoming far too common – and no longer surprise her.

We have children that we know come from certain households that struggle a little bit. We recognise that and we tend to give those children a little bit of extra food, a little bit of extra attention – send them home with a full belly.

This is a vital scheme. With Universal Credit and the poverty rates, it’s needed even more than ever along with hunger clubs in the holidays.

It used to surprise me but maybe not so much anymore. We’re seeing it more and more of the time. I’m used to it now.”

– Chelsey Gardner, Catering Manager, Unity Primary Academy, Colchester

The community fridges are stocked using leftover food from the school kitchens and aim to provide nutritious food for families who need some extra help. They include fruit and vegetables, rice, milk and eggs.

Schools hope to be as discreet as possible, encouraging children to talk to a teacher and keeping the fridges in areas that will not attract attention from their peers.

According to charity the Trussell Trust, the use of food banks in the East is continuing to rise.

Last year 156,000 food parcels were handed over in this region.

Essex received the most, with around 16,000 parcels given to children alone. In Norfolk, more than 8,000 of the 15,000 food parcels went to young people, and in Suffolk, 6,200 emergency supplies were handed out – with around 3,800 of them going to children.

Reach2 Academies are not the first schools in the region to feel the need to feed pupils and their families.

Last year, headteacher Debbie Whiting revealed she had set up a food bank at North Denes Primary in Great Yarmouth for families in poverty.

Further Information

This story was first published on on 18th October 2019 at 6.31pm.

Life is an Adventure, School should be too!

Of course, it's essential that our children can read, write and add up to the level that you would expect for their age, however at REAch2, the school has always been about so much more.

Think back – what do you remember about your primary school days?

Was it phonics lessons or learning how to do long division? Was it a brilliant school trip where you camped under the stars, built a raft, or crossed a lake?.

These types of great opportunities – the memorable experiences that cement themselves into your psyche – happen in every school. What’s different for us is that we consciously codify it into a set of promises so that it becomes something that EVERY child is entitled to and “11 before 11” is the way we do this.

11 before 11 is a set of promises that help our children to be in the driving seat in their own lives, a series of seminal experiences that we want every child in the REAch2 family to have experienced before they leave us to go to secondary school-aged 11.

Across each of our 60 schools, we are ambitious for our children to have broad horizons in life and high aspirations for themselves. We want our children to be inspired and challenged so that each one can develop their unique potential to the full. 11 before 11 takes our children beyond the usual, to open opportunities in life and inspire them to move forward in their own life’s adventure.

We are incredibly proud of “11 before 11”. We know the impact that it has had so far, and strongly believe that its importance has only grown because of Covid-19 and the impact that the pandemic has had on society, on our communities, and on our families. We will continue to invest in delivering it so that every child’s experience of school with us is exceptional and memorable for all the right reasons.

Click here to find out more about our 11 Before 11 programme.

REAch2 Academies Appear in Steve McQueens Year 3 Exhibition

Turner Prize-winning artist and Oscar-winning filmmaker Steve McQueen has unveiled his epic portrait of London’s Year 3 pupils at the Tate Britain.

Using the traditional school class photograph, the artwork spans the length of the Sculpture Gallery and is one of the most ambitious portraits of children ever undertaken in the UK. Over 76,000 children across 1,500 schools took part in this unique piece of artwork which offers a glimpse of London’s future generations.

REAch2 Academies who took part include Aerodrome Academy, Chapel End Junior Academy, Dorothy Barley Junior Academy, Langtons Junior Academy, Robert Fitzroy Academy, St Marks CofE Academy and Tidemill Academy.

The exhibition is free and runs until 3 May 2020. Every afternoon from 14.15–17.45 during holidays and at weekends there will be large magnifiers operating in the Steve McQueen Year 3 exhibition, allowing photos at any height to be seen in greater detail.

For more information, please visit the Tate Britain’s website

Images © Tate