Praise for schools during Covid-19 pandemic

A group of North-East schools have received widespread praise for going the extra mile during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Ad Astra Academy Trust comprises seven primary schools in Hartlepool, Middlesbrough and Stockton-on-Tees.

The pandemic has presented unprecedented challenges for schools as Chief Executive Officer Andy Brown OBE explains.

“It has been a really challenging time for all schools and I cannot thank our staff, parents, governors and a number of outside organisations enough for everything that they have done to help ensure that our children continue to receive the best possible support during these difficult times.

“As part of our role, it is hugely important to also provide support to families and I am very proud of the wide-ranging measures which we have in place at all our schools.

“Parents and carers have been really appreciative of the help that we have given and there will be no let-up in our efforts to provide support, said Mr Brown.

West View Primary School in Hartlepool is just one of the schools to implement several measures to support children and their families. These include:

  • Arranging daily cereal/bagels along with weekly food parcel deliveries and food vouchers to families most in need
  • Establishing a free clothing recycling scheme
  • Providing essential household goods and personal items for families such as cleaning materials, toiletries and sanitary items
  • Live online events for parents/carers to help promote the various support measures and maintain regular dialogue.

Ad Astra schools have also received widespread praise from parents for the efforts to deliver home learning when children have had to isolate in their homes.

Chris Twiby, the headteacher of Crooksbarn Primary School, in Stockton-on -Tees, said: “Covid-19 has presented schools with challenges we could never have imagined, but everyone involved with our school community has pulled together and worked incredibly hard to support children and their families.

“We have been able to mobilise home learning very quickly when it has been necessary and the feedback from parents has been very positive.”

One Crooksbarn parent commented: “This week has been made so much easier by the Year 1/2 Team. It was easy to follow and engaging and my daughter Meredith really enjoyed it. Thank you for all of your hard work this week with our children. We really appreciate it.”


Another Crooksbarn parent said: “James has loved the online learning. I can’t believe how much he has enjoyed writing his poem. I just wanted to say thank you.”

Meanwhile, Ayresome Primary School in Middlesbrough has been pulling out the stops to help their children and families with several initiatives. These include:

  • Receiving funding from the Teesside Philanthropic Foundation to provide essential food vouchers for families
  • Working with Middlesbrough Football Club Foundation to deliver food parcels to families
  • Establishing a scheme to provide winter coats for children who need them.

There are seven primary schools within Ad Astra Academy Trust. They are Barnard Grove, Brougham, West Park and West View in Hartlepool, Crooksbarn and Rosebrook in Stockton-on-Tees and Ayresome in Middlesbrough.