A HEADTEACHER has praised his hard-working staff for going above and beyond, as schools continue to work around the coronavirus outbreak.

Only key workers’ children and vulnerable pupils are permitted to attend schools.

Pupil and teachers numbers across the country were slashed, after the Prime Minister closed schools following the virus outbreak.

And some schools are going the extra mile to make sure all children continue to get a hot meal throughout the day.

David Wright, headteacher of Woodlands School, in Basildon, said money was transferred into parents’ bank accounts to feed children who have free school meals.

He said: “Obviously this is quite a difficult and unprecedented situation and our staff have been great and really pulled together.

“We’ve been working on a plan for the last few weeks to ensure pupils can learn from home with the internet and those without this had packets sent home.

“We’ve also made sure the vulnerable children and those of key workers are in school.

“We’ve had a skeleton staff with 15 in school and about 32 children.

“I am sure the children are quite anxious about all this but we’ve made sure the staff know what to tell them.

“We have paid money into the accounts of the children who have free school meals to help them buy food.”

Mr Wright said his dedication staff go above and beyond just doing a job as they care so much.

He said he couldn’t be more proud of them for their work.

Meanwhile, Ian Gilbert, Labour leader of Southend Council has urged parents to only use schools if necessary.

He said: “We had no issues reported by Monday lunchtime, it seems to have all been as smooth as possible.

“This is credit to the teachers and staff and we must thank them for this great work under very difficult circumstances.

“Parents must know it should only be used is absolutely necessary.”

An Essex County Council spokesman said: “Schools are working incredibly hard to stay open for the children of key workers and vulnerable pupils and all staff working in schools this week should be highly commended.

“It is critically important that all parents, where possible, keep their children at home, even if they are key workers and only take up the offer if they are unable to. It is crucial that the number of children in schools is at the lowest levels it can be.”

“The government advice is changing fast and ECC is working closely with all schools across Essex to provide advice, support and guidance.”