SCHOOLS are facing many challenges during the ‘surreal’ time of the coronavirus pandemic.

From providing for the children of key workers throughout the lockdown, to supporting students after the cancellation of exams, schools are facing many challenges.

Guy Nichols, headmaster at The De Montfort School, Evesham, said: “It’s been a bit surreal because it’s all happened so quickly. Last week we gradually started having different year groups go home. Because we had a lot of staff off self isolating.”

Schools are running on skeleton staff with only the children of key workers attending.

Mr Nichols said: “We had 20 children in on Monday, they were very good and very well behaved. We were doing social distancing, it’s very carefully orchestrated and the children all had their own work spaces.

“We actually had too many staff volunteer. We have got to retain minimal staff while still trying to provide for the kids. I have been really impressed with the staff and their willingness to put themselves in a difficult situation. They have been very brave.”

The staff have put lots of work and materials on the school’s shared area so the children being kept at home have plenty to keep themselves occupied.

Mr Nichols also praised Class Caterers who have been delivering meals every day to families that rely on the free school meals.

“For some people if they can’t get out they are starting to worry about getting food for their children. So that’s something we have had to sort out.”

All exams have been cancelled. Students grades will be determined in other ways.

Mr Nichols said: “It’s an extremely difficult situation for the children. The Year 11s and 13s were very disappointed because we were expecting some very good results. They were working really hard. “

“They have just finished the year 11 mocks on Friday. They had heard on the night before that the exams were not happening but they still came in to show what they could do.”

Mr Nichols said: “I was quite surprised because I thought the government might postpone the exams. Obviously the government has had to make this very difficult decision.”

“I feel sorry for the children who have worked really hard. But I don’t blame the government for that.”