At St Joseph’s we pride ourselves on our resilience during adverse times and our ability to continue to stride forward with a focused determination for the whole school community. The current pandemic has demonstrated how the school and, through our strong relationships with the local community, can provide support for our families.
Since March 2020 and through the national lockdown, the school has remained open. This has allowed us to support pupils and their families in a variety of ways.
School staff set up a foodbank for families who required additional support, as well as providing summer activity boxes for eligible pupils with funding support from the DfE and Croydon LA. We gratefully received food donations from parents, staff, and our local community network. Families were able to select from a fresh, variety of food daily throughout the lockdown. In addition to this, supermarket vouchers were given to families. This level of support has continued throughout this academic year and we ensure that all pupils in receipt of free school meals receive ongoing voucher support, when required.
We were the only school in Croydon during 2021 to offer an Easter provision for our eligible pupils, providing high-quality and free childcare (including sport and enrichment activities) as well as nutritious food. We expanded our offering for the school holidays in Summer 2021, offering places to eligible pupils from other Croydon schools also
Throughout this time, pupils’ education and wellbeing has remained a priority. During lockdown, staff attended school daily to provide continuous onsite education for the pupils, whose parents were key workers. Parents were able to attend work during this time knowing that their child was safe and cared for whilst they continued working in their vital roles. We also gave our SEND and vulnerable pupils the opportunity to attend school during this time.
The school has embraced modern technology to further support teaching and learning. We use Google Classroom effectively to ensure that all pupils continue to learn and achieve, whilst working in school and remotely. Remote learning has been supported with video conferencing and has provided pupils with daily direct teaching from their class teacher when working from home.
Our priority was to ensure all pupils had access to technology to be able to access remote learning. This was achieved by providing families with laptops and access to Wi-fi where necessary. We are also able to offer heavily discounted laptops for families to buy via our partnership with London Grid for Learning:
Supporting all our families and coming together during these challenging times has been made possible by using technology to deliver assemblies and celebrate our achievements. It has been a valuable resource for maintaining contact with families self-isolating and providing them with regular contact.
We are a strong community supported by a proactive PTA that has been vital in maintaining contact beyond the school environment. They have organised the distribution of second-hand uniforms to families needing help. They generously gave each child in the school a pencil case with stationery to welcome them back in September and working together they have begun to create a path of personalised decorated stones representing each family.
We are also immensely proud of our pupils who came up with creative ways to share experiences in a ‘virtual world’ whilst separated by social distancing and lockdowns. This included organising a Virtual Zoo, which you can see below:
Our motto is ‘Together We Can’ and our school community has embodied this through the pandemic.