What we did:
Senior Leadership Team (SLT) met with the Parent Council (PC) to discuss a partnership approach to teaching and learning and to support health and wellbeing in the community. We adopted the tagline #WeAreRosewell #WeAreResilient . We focused on coming out of the situation having built a stronger community.
Overnight we provided learning and communication through Facebook, School App, Twitter, Seesaw and Google Classrooms. Some of these were new platforms so we had to quickly adapt and upskill both parents/carers and staff. SLT offered personal support over the telephone or on the doorstep to ensure everyone in the community had access to on-line learning and to the latest information.
Families were supported through ‘Rosewell Shares’ which was set up by the PC and they received regular food boxes and other financial support. The school used a ‘Cash For Kids’ grant and supplemented food boxes with a ‘hot meal treat’ including a recipe card that encouraged families to cook together.
In collaboration with the school, The PC posted weekly activities on their Facebook page. They were focused on spreading positivity in our community. Some of these attracted attention from national press .
SLT and PC communicated daily to identify where support was needed most.
Who we involved:
Rosewell Primary School and the PC initially set up a joint community approach. ‘Rosewell Shares’ was set up by parents from the PC and linked with local church. ‘Cash for Kids’ provided extra funding. The local shops provided prizes for events and were drop-off and collection points for resources.
The difference it made:
Being in a rural area, with one bus service in and out of the village some families felt particularly isolated. With the closure of non-essential shops and travel bans imposed, this was a very challenging time for some of our families. Sometimes all we did was provide a ‘listening ear’ on the doorstep or at the end of a telephone.
We made sure that we had daily contact, over seven days, with some of our more vulnerable families. This meant we could respond immediately and get support, when required. The PC also acted as a gatekeeper and referred families onto us. A robust tracking system meant that no-one was left feeling alone or without support.
We encouraged families to engage with creative and innovative approaches to on-line learning. Many of our joint activities were based on the outdoors and encouraged families to get out and about into the local community. This supported the overall mental and physical health and wellbeing of everyone.
We promoted the coming together of the community by linking with as many organisations and companies as possible. The biggest difference was the community acting as one in the face of adversity. We became more resilient.
What we will do differently in the future:
Rosewell is a community that is experiencing rapid change with the number of new build houses in and around the very traditional ex-mining village. This has been challenging for some residents. Previous attempts to include all members of the school and community have met with a mixed response.
As a result of our experience we have seen, by working collaboratively together, how we can identify needs and put supports in place using a variety of approaches. Social media was extremely beneficial in communicating and connecting with our families and the wider community. Long-term we intend to explore how we can ensure equity for all our families and develop skills in digital learning for all.
The doors to the food bank closed. However, monetary donations are still welcome. Families in need know that support is still there. ‘Rosewell Shares’ is firmly embedded in the community.
The impact is summed up by Kristen Hunter, Parent and Founder of Rosewell Shares: “It has been great to see the community spring to action when we needed and help one another through the many acts of kindness that were shown throughout Rosewell. It has been heart-warming to see such great community spirit and resilience".