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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge thanks teachers on videocall to Burnley school

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge thanked teachers and school staff for their dedication in a video call with Casterton Primary Academy this afternoon.

They spoke with staff and children at the school, which is located close to Burnley General Hospital and has a high percentage of children whose parents are key workers.

The school has remained open as a hub for the five academies (Castercliff Primary Academy, Pendle Primary Academy, Colne Primet Academy, West Craven High School and Casterton Primary Academy) that are part of the Pendle Education Trust.

The call took place during what are traditionally the Easter holidays but this year, due to Covid-19, teachers across the country are dedicating their time to keeping schools open for the children of key workers and vulnerable children.

Children from across the Trust have been taking part in Easter crafting activities during the holiday period and during the call showed The Duke and Duchess what they had made. Several children also showed The Duke and Duchess portraits of their key worker parents and explained why they were proud of them.

On the call The Duke and Duchess heard about the difficulties that schools, staff and children are facing, as well as the extraordinary measures that the school is taking to help pupils and their families, including food deliveries and mental health provision. The trust is providing meal vouchers for Free School Meals families, which makes up 25% of all the families in the Trust. 

The Duke and Duchess spoke with a School Project Manager from children’s mental health charity Place2Be, which has worked with schools in the Pendle Education Trust for 10 years, supporting the emotional wellbeing of children, parents and staff. The charity continues to support school communities across the UK at this challenging time, adapting its usual model of school-based support by providing phone ‘check ins’ for young people and parents of younger children where pupils are not in school.

Speaking to school staff,

The Duchess said:

“Well done honestly to you and everyone who’s in during this time. It must be such a relief for all the parents who are key workers to know that the normality is there for their children – they’ve got the structure and they’ve got a safe place for them to be, so really really well done to all of you.”

The Duke said:

“We just want to say a huge thank you to you guys and well done in keeping it all going. Please pass on many messages of support for all the staff and all the volunteers – they’re doing a great job.”