Staff at Royal Wootton Bassett Academy say that the town’s strong community has helped lift the spirits of their colleagues and students alike as they cope with learning in the pandemic.
During the academy’s year group self-isolations, staff and the school mini-bus drivers delivered food parcels to students that would last them an entire week, so that they could continue working and learning without worrying about how to access food when they were unable to leave their homes.
One parent has pledged £500 per year to students who come from deprived backgrounds. Uday Baskar, who has one daughter in Year 12 and another in Year 7, is gifting this amount each year to support the needs of Royal Wootton Bassett Academy’s vulnerable students. The gift is in the names of his daughters’ grandmothers, Mrs Uma Udayaraj and Mrs Lalitha Jayapal. It will top up the current daily allowance of £2.35 that the school receives to provide meals for students entitled to free school meals, so that those students are able to have a snack, a hot meal and hot drink every day.
And another parent has donated £250 to buy a laptop for a student who cannot yet return to school. Without it, that student would not be able to maintain contact with teachers or complete any school work, as the family has just one mobile phone between them.
“These are just some examples of how the school and the community are working seamlessly together to make sure students are safe, well and able to concentrate on their learning,” said headteacher Mrs Anita Ellis.
“We've had the most wonderful reactions and thanks as a result of the food parcel delivery service, and we are so grateful for the generosity of parents who want to help other students as well as their own children.
“This community effort is a great fillip for my colleagues, too. Many staff are quite fatigued already this term, as they have drawn on reserves of strength, resilience and problem resolution not normally known so early on in the year, so to receive this support is really uplifting. We consider ourselves to be very fortunate to be part of such a strong, caring community as Royal Wootton Bassett.”