Councillor Abtisam Mohamed, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills at Sheffield City Council, said:

“With our first virtual cabinet meeting under our belts, it is good to see that we are all able to rise to the challenge and to work differently to make key decisions and continue to meet our objectives for the citizens of Sheffield.

“I am in awe of how parents, schools and key learning partners have worked so hard to support children across the city during this time. From online learning to the schools which have remained partially open to support vulnerable children and the children of key workers throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.”

As Sheffield City Council announced plans to look at re-opening schools across the city, approximately 150 of Sheffield’s 177 schools have remained partially open during lockdown with teachers and school staff working hard to support vulnerable children and the children of key workers.

Of note, 27.5% of the city’s vulnerable children have attended school compared to 5% supported nationally.

Therefore, we are not preparing for reopening but for increasing the number of children who are in school.  Our first priority is to make sure that children and staff are as safe as possible at all times, and we will work with schools and settings to support them to make the best decisions for them.

Abtisam added:

“Sheffield City Council has been working closely with all schools and childcare settings in the city, along with our partner organisation Learn Sheffield, throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I would like to pay tribute to the work of all school and childcare staff in supporting the children of key workers and vulnerable children during this period, as well as the critical work that they have been doing to support the continued safeguarding and education of other children at home.  The vast majority of schools have remained open for vulnerable children and the children of key workers during this period.”

Sheffield City Council has been working in collaboration with Learn Sheffield and the Sheffield Star on a home learning supplement called Sheffield Learning Together which aims to provide home learning activities for families across the city.

Thousands of copies of the new home learning booklet for children, young people and families have been distributed by the Sheffield Star. The new resource put together by Sheffield City Council, Learn Sheffield and Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust.

All distributed copies were covered by sponsorship with a first print run of 5000 copies in early May. To meet an increase in demand the numbers rose to 10,483 copies in the 2nd week of May delivered to a total of 119 destinations.

CEO of Learn Sheffield Stephen Betts, said:

“Sheffield Learning Together is a terrific example of what can be achieved when people work together at pace. It took almost exactly two weeks from the first conversation to the first print run and this wouldn’t have been possible without the support of many individuals and organisations!

“Huge thanks to everyone involved, from the sponsors who funded the copies that have been delivered to families through to the many schools and partners who provide the content for the supplement.”

The Home Learning Supplement includes learning activities for all age ranges, tips and activities to support mental health information physical activity, healthy eating, and much more.

Copies have also been distributed through schools, food banks and volunteer networks and delivered directly to families with less access to printing and the internet.

The resource is available to download online from the Learn Sheffield website https://www.learnsheffield.co.uk/Covid-19

Abtisam said: 

“It is a fantastic resource, bringing together the experts in education from across the city to produce something useful and supportive which can reach all our families and children.

“With the Home Learning Supplement being distributed to thousands of homes across the city, it is a great supportive resource for households with limited online access.”