Church school opens up this weekend for children of NHS worker

A church school in Somerset is to open up this weekend to look after the family of an NHS worker who was unable to find childcare to help her fulfil her shifts.

Many church schools  across the diocese have been throwing open their doors over the Easter holidays to look after the children of key workers and demonstrate in practical ways their love and care for their communities, but Thurlbear Church of England primary school in Taunton is going one step further.

Headteacher Steve Gillan was phoned by a parent in desperation to ask if there was any “possible chance” the school could look after her children this weekend as she had to do a weekend shift and could not, during the lockdown, fall back on usual childcare arrangements.

Mr Gillan said he was willing to come in and asked for any volunteers from his staff – within minutes, twenty staff had stepped forward. “It was an amazing response,”¬† he said. “I have staff who will always try and say yes. We are all just doing what we can to help parents who are key workers do what they can. Our children and our families have been fantastically supportive.”

Thurlbear has been open throughout the Easter holidays, looking after between one and ten children every day. Around 40 children from its roll of 210 are the children of key workers.

Around 150 church schools in Somerset have opened throughout the Easter holidays, and design and technology staff at The Blue School in Wells have even turned their hands to making face masks for the NHS, creating 251 in their first week.

Bishop Peter wrote to headteachers after Easter. You can download a copy of that letter below.


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