Parents thank 'amazing' reception teachers for support through first year

Sophie Chappell

Sophie completing work at home. - Credit: Jo Stowell

Parents have praised ‘outstanding’ teachers across North Somerset and Somerset for supporting children who started school during the pandemic. 

Jo Stowell’s daughter Sophie Chappell started Ashcombe Primary School, in Weston, in September, after missing months of preschool due to Covid-19. 

Jo said the support offering to Sophie and her family was ‘amazing’, with regular calls and daily videos during the lockdowns, and plenty of fun activities including a snow machine and blow-up snow men, when they returned to class. 

She said: “My youngest is in reception this year. Not only has she missed half the school year, she’s missed half her pre-school year at such a crucial age for learning phonics, reading, writing and social skills.  

“Ashcombe Primary School has been amazing - supporting parents in any way they can during lockdown. 

“They have gone above and beyond to make sure our children don’t miss out on anything. At Christmas time, Santa and a pony walked around the school greeting all the children.

"There were lots of fun activities and Christmas plays were still performed and recorded for parents to watch. 

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“My daughter’s favourite part of the year has been making her friendship bonds and she loves her teachers.  

“We parents haven’t had the chance to get to know each other, and we’ve missed out on sports day, but the children haven’t. They come home full of excitement telling us what they have done.” 

Sophie Chappell

Sophie with her habitats project. - Credit: Jo Stowell

Parents have also heaped praise on reception teachers at Milton Park Primary School, who have helped to make learning fun during a hugely challenging year. 

Lee Smith said his son Sawyer’s teacher, Mrs Backler, has been ‘brilliant’.

He added: “She consistently goes out of her way to provide interactive learning experiences, both in the class and remotely via teams.  

“Mrs Backler also records a few stories every day so that the children can watch them at their leisure. She incorporates a lot of song into her learning too and we will often hear our son singing out what he's learnt at school.   

“Every day she makes sure her class gets the best possible learning experience, and everyone who has ever had the pleasure of having children in her class will agreed that she is nothing short of fantastic.” 

Sawyer Smith

Sawyer completing work at home, set by Milton Park Primary School. - Credit: Lee Smith

Marie Frost, a paediatric cardiac physiologist at Bristol Children’s Hospital, and her husband Mike  – a policeman – were supported by East Brent Primary School when they had to work during the lockdowns. 

Their son William attended school as the child of a key worker, and also accessed lessons at home. Marie said: “The support from the school office to the teachers and support staff in the classroom was and is outstanding.  

“Each day a list of tasks and a timetable was issued around 8am via email, there was a daily morning Zoom with the whole class for those in school and those at home to go through phonics and maths.

"There was a huge emphasis on just doing what you could, no pressure and not to get upset about not doing everything on the list, there were often options to choose from and a focus on wellbeing. 

“Home school was exceptionally difficult, I have no idea how anyone managed to home school more than one child, and commend everyone who managed it.  

“The school made every effort to make a very difficult situation for my boys and myself, achievable and even enjoyable at times. 

 “I have nothing but thanks and gratitude for all at East Brent School, and would like to sincerely thank them for all they do.” 

William Frost

William, from East Brent First School, working at home. - Credit: Marie Frost

Reception teachers at Banwell Primary School have also made lessons lots of fun for pupils. 

Sarah Simms said: “Throughout the pandemic, they took daily zoom classes, filmed themselves reading books and prepared reams of resources for students at different capability levels. They called weekly to check on how parents were doing too.  

“Since being back, they’ve emphasised play and even got hold of eggs that the children have helped to protect and watch hatch into baby chicks. My son is absolutely delighted and loves going to school.” 

First class pictures from schools across North Somerset and Somerset are being published in the Weston Mercury tomorrow (Thursday).

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