School reports four-fold increase in demand for lockdown study places – Nottinghamshire Live

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A secondary school near Mansfield has had four times the number of requests from parents wanting to send their children to school during lockdown compared to last year.

Around 70 pupils have continued to attend Shirebrook Academy in Common Lane despite the lockdown and many pupils studying at home.

In the first national lockdown of March last year, Shirebrook kept operating for 30 vulnerable students and key worker’s children.

But this time around, head teacher Mark Cottingham said demand is significantly higher.

He believes the reasons include a greater confidence among parents in the safety of sending children to school as well as more parents having to go to work and needing childcare provision.

He said: “We’ve had around 70 (pupils) each day this week and, going on the inquiries that are still coming in, we will have over 100 students on Monday.

“Things are very different to last time. In March, we started off with around 30 students each day, but this dropped down to around 20 each day for a variety of reasons.

head teacher

“I think a lot of parents also decided that they weren’t going to send their children in full stop, because they felt safer keeping them out of school and they weren’t working.

“But as they have been attending full-time since September [parents] have more confidence now and, judging by the traffic on the roads, I would say that more people are working this time around.

“It has taken a vast amount of work to put everything in place and I can assure everybody that we will be able to accommodate all of the students who are studying in school safely, due to the extensive social distancing measures that we have put in place.”

Across the UK the situation has been mirrored where schools have also allowed students to come into the classroom because they do not have a laptop or computer to do online learning at home.

Mr Cottingham said the Academy has also offered places to children who are in a similar situation, although it has also given out hundreds of laptops to students across all year groups.

On Monday the school will launch a programme of live online learning which will be offered to all students, whether they are in school or studying at home.

It is also awaiting further instructions on how its GCSE students, whose exams next summer have now been scrapped, will be assessed and the role the school will play.

Do you work in a school where the uptake on places has been greater in this lockdown? Or are you a parent who didn’t take a study place last time but is doing so this time? Let us know in the comments or by emailing [email protected]