KEY worker parents managed to make childcare arrangements on the first day of the national schools shutdown, allowing pupils to stay at home.

Lawn Manor Academy headteacher Sandra Muir said only five students attended the secondary school in Walcot on Monday.

Mrs Muir said: “We had fewer students in than we had anticipated, so we were soon able to reduce the staff levels to four teachers.

“We have set up a rota for each day of the week, but we wanted to make sure that on the first day we had ample provision and that the right children were coming to school. We are also ensuring that students based at home are completing the online work that has been set by their class teachers."

There were eight teachers, one teaching assistant one administrator, one pastoral staff member and the entire senior leadership team were ready to welcome them.

She added: “We have this very small group of students based in our library, where there are plenty of resources including books, other reading materials and computers , but top of the curriculum is social distancing and handwashing.”

“We are trying to break the day up so students are not indoors all day, but we are very mindful of the importance of keeping social distance in place.”

Teachers set up outdoor tennis courts and basketball hoops so students can exercise while staying away from each other.

Mrs Muir said: “We are taking each day at a time at Lawn Manor and are ensuring that we are following all government guidance. We understand this challenging and anxious time for pupils and parents.

“Our staff team have been fantastic at volunteering for additional days on the rota to help other staff who have small children or partners working in the NHS.

“I’m very proud of them for their dedication and professionalism, and I’d also like to say a big thank you to all parents for their support in this.

“There have clearly been huge efforts made to arrange childcare while students study at home, which has meant that the children who have come in are genuinely those who have parents playing their own key role in protecting the community.”