Witham MP praises Templars Academy for their support for vulnerable children
Priti Patel, the Witham MP called in to Templars Academy on Friday (17th July) to meet Jane Bass, who is CEO of Connected Learning and the school’s Executive Headteacher, Victoria Gooding, Head of School and Faye Welsher, Family Liaison Officer.
During their meeting, they spoke at length about the many measures undertaken during lockdown to support vulnerable children; including regular contact by teachers, up to 4-5 times per week, depending on need, work packs delivered directly to vulnerable children, food boxes hand delivered on a regular basis to vulnerable families from the start of lockdown. Food bank vouchers for families and Free school meal vouchers for those who qualify were also provided. This will continue throughout the school holidays. Templars Academy was also quick to respond to the Government’s laptop scheme and Connected Learning also sourced more laptops for children most in need of them.
During her visit, Priti was taken on a tour of the school to see for herself the extensive social distancing measures that have been made in preparation for the full return of the school’s pupils in September. These included major reorganisation of the layout of classrooms, social distance floor markings and providing every pupil with their own pens, pencils and scissors.
Commenting after the meeting, Priti Patel said: “Templars Academy’s comprehensive programme of support for vulnerable children during the pandemic lockdown has been hugely impressive. I am particularly pleased to see that the attendance of vulnerable children has increased from 41% to 77% and has been increasing every week. However, the support programme does not end when the school holidays begin as the MAT will be signposting families to agencies that are holding clubs for children and emergency contact numbers will be reissued to parents. Food bank vouchers will also continue to be handed out from the school to families during the long summer break and contact will continue to be made with the highest need families.
“The teachers here, under the leadership of Jane Bass, CEO of Connected Learning, have done an amazing job under unique and very challenging circumstances. The results are a great tribute to their efforts. The focus must now be on getting all children back to school in September and I was really impressed with the hard work that has been done to prepare the school for the September return.”
Jane Bass said: “Priti is one of our strongest supporters and meets with us regularly to discuss our work with vulnerable children. She has a strong interest in the most vulnerable children in our communities and does all she can to support our work. She is always appreciative of our efforts and brings to the table a lot of new ideas and suggestions for improvements. If we have any problems, she is a sympathetic ear and often helps us to solve them.”