June 16, 2020
Schools have been open to vulnerable children and those of key workers throughout the coronavirus lockdown and Northern Education Trust Dyke House Academy students who have continued to attend, have worked hard to actively keep their minds busy during this difficult period. Timetables include online learning in the morning followed by sporting activities in the afternoon, and the mixed-aged groups have teamed up at times to work together, whilst observing social distancing requirements at all times.
Rhys Morris, co-ordinator of Dyke House’s Elite Development Squad sport scholarship programme, said: “I have been in the academy almost every day and it has been lovely to see students from the different year groups mixing with people they would not normally mix with under normal circumstances. After doing their online learning in the mornings, some students might go into the sports hall play badminton or some other activity, or we will outside to play football or rounders. This all helps to keep them engaged and active.”
The students agree. Mark Popplewell, a Year 10 student, has enjoyed an emptier school, producing both school work as well as other things. He said: “It’s been pretty good. We have been concentrating on keeping to a schedule and having fun. I have been doing plenty of online learning because I am going into Year 11. I am having to take learning more seriously, and being in school during this period has helped me. We are doing a mixture of sessions, using different websites, and watching different videos. Some students might create a TikTok, others have brought games into play. We made a giant monopoly board the other week based around the school – so there was a dance studio, the 3G pitch, a gym and the normal stops on the board were classrooms. We have designed a mental health poster, and created birthday cards to send to Captain Tom Moore, It’s all been good, and keeps everyone positive during the pandemic.”
13 year-old Lucy McEvoy said: “I have found the lockdown hard because I used to go to see my friends every single day. I can’t see family and friends because we know we are better staying at home. My mam, Amy, is a mental health nurse. She is out there and it’s been hard but she knows that she is helping to save people and I look up to her. I have been going into Dyke House regularly. It is weird because we don’t have all the teachers in, but it’s been good and we are really grateful to the staff at Dyke House for helping us. The teachers have encouraged us to be active so we have taken part in healthy activities for exercise. We have mixed with children of different year groups and that’s been nice because you tend to stick with your normal group usually.”
Adam Palmer, Principal, said: “All the students who have continued to attend have embraced the schedule and remained so positive – you would not think there was something so major going on outside the gates. They have enjoyed the work and they have been happy – we could not be more proud of them.”