WHEN the coronavirus pandemic first hit the UK, not only did our lives change but so did the role of a teacher, a Bradford principal has revealed.

As the lockdown was imposed in March, schools were closed to the majority of pupils and though pupil numbers may have been fewer, teachers and staff at High Crags Primary Leadership Academy in Shipley were working harder than ever to support to those in desperate need in the community.

The changing role of educators during the coronavirus pandemic was highlighted by Helen Ray, headteacher at High Crags Primary Leadership Academy, who said she had never been prouder of her dedicated team.

The headteacher explained recent difficulties meant that teachers and support staff stepped out of their traditional roles to help alleviate suffering locally.

High Crags is among many schools in the district who stepped up to help during the crisis.

Instead of standing in front of a class filled with eager young pupils, staff have been packing boxes filled with essential food items, manning the school’s newly-established foodbank or arranging donations to help feed people in the district.

The school also supplied PPE to Hallcroft local assisted living complex while children also sent Easter cards and letters to residents during Loneliness Awareness Week.

As well as providing home learning packs, teachers have also been checking in with their pupils through weekly phone calls to ensure that pupils and families are staying safe and keeping well and have everything they need.

Mrs Ray said: “We understand that many members of our community are finding things really difficult in the current climate.

“The impact of lockdown, difficulties in arranging childcare and the changing job market have meant that many are suddenly facing financial hardship through no fault of their own. As the situation continues, we are seeing more people in our wider community starting to struggle.

“Our school is very much at the heart of our community and we cannot simply close our eyes when we see suffering. That is why we will do everything we can to help those in need.

“We have been very lucky with the support we have had. Our families are some of the kindest people in the area, and our Friends of High Crags Group has done a wonderful job of fundraising.

"This, combined with the donations and support from our dedicated and caring staff, means that we all benefit from being part of a wonderful and supportive school community.

“We are like a big family and like many other families, when things get tough we pull together to offer support and this helps us all to be the very best we can.

“I can honestly say I have never been prouder of my team than I am now.

"They have made a real difference to so many people in our community, and I am incredibly grateful to every single one of them for all their hard work."

The schools’ charitable work was made possible by kind donations from Fare Share, Morrisons and ASDA as well as donations from other local businesses and individuals.