#UKlockdown - Government funded website and app School Toolkit to keep Derby parents and carers up to date on #Coronavirus and curriculum as schools prepare for home working

A GOVERNMENT funded website and app which was launched in Derby earlier this year, is fast becoming the go-to place for parents and carers in the city, as schools prepare to temporarily shut following the Coronavirus outbreak.

New resources and advice on the virus are being uploaded daily to the School Toolkit website and app to help support home learning after the UK Government decided to temporarily shut all primary schools in England, Scotland and Wales.

It is backed by a social media campaign which will help to support the app and website with its soft approach to parenting challenges.

Believed to be the first of its kind in the UK, the School Toolkit is a one-stop shop showcasing everything you need to know about primary school life. Translated into five different languages – Polish, Kurdish, Urdu, Slovak and Latvian, as well as English, it aims to encourage and support parental engagement between home and school.

It has proved immensely popular in Derby and beyond since its launch earlier this year and, if it continues to be a success, the website and app will be rolled out nationwide.

“We are uploading fresh content frequently to the School Toolkit website, app and on its social media channels,” said Ellen Wilkinson, deputy head teacher at The Bemrose School and lead on the School Toolkit project.

“There is advice on how to explain to your children about Coronavirus and support for dealing with the anxiety and stress which can be caused should you have to self-isolate.

“There is, of course, practical information from the World Health Organisation for parents and carers, the NHS plus advice on what you should do if you think you or your child has Coronavirus.”

Ellen and Kash Khunkhuna, project manager for the School Toolkit, have been working round the clock to ensure that there are resources available to support home working on the website and app.

“There are several resources available on the website and app, links to free E-books for learning, free downloads and helpful ideas on how to get creative, too,” said Ellen.

“We talk about how something such as watching a film with your child can involve an element of learning; talk about what has happened in the film together to turn this into a literacy task or draw pictures of your favourite characters.

“We’re putting together five daily suggestions for parents so that they don’t have to scroll through different websites; simple activities which will help to keep children entertained, support their learning, keep them in a routine.”

Eighteen schools, predominantly in Normanton, Sinfin, Alvaston and Chaddesden, currently have access to the website and app, which was officially launched earlier this year.

So far, it has been well received by parents, carers and those working in education.

Ellen added: “The School Toolkit is the crucial link between school and home and now, more than ever, we need that relationship to blossom.

“School life, teaching and the curriculum have changed so much over the years and if we can help to support parents and carers with resources, videos, links and useful tools then all of our children will benefit.”

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