Within just a few days last March, schools and colleges across Devon quickly shifted their focus from learning face-to-face in the classroom, to a model of remote learning, via Teams, Zoom and other online learning platforms.
Schools themselves, of course, never closed. They stayed open right throughout the lockdowns for children of key workers and vulnerable families.
Teaching staff worked hard to provide both in-class lessons to the few, while supporting those learning during lockdown at home.
There were challenges. Some children had problems accessing remote learning because they didn’t have devices at home. So, in addition to government-provided laptops, local communities stepped up to help. We also gave thousands of pounds to provide tech for young people to help them access online services, including school work.
Now, a year on, schools and colleges have fully re-opened for all pupils and over 95 per cent of primary and secondary school children in Devon have returned to the classroom.
Schools have done a tremendous job in building confidence and welcoming pupils back, and we have had some great responses from pupils, parents, headteachers and their staff.
Everyone has done a remarkable job over the past year, and we’ve had positive reports about how well children are continuing to manage all the changes and how good it has been to see them enjoying lessons and meeting their friends again.