Ghyll Royd School Headteacher David Martin has a creative challenge for local schoolchildren. Here he tells the Gazette and Observer all about it.

IF it’s one thing the Wharfe Valley has in spade loads, it’s community spirit. Since the Prime Minister’s plea for the elderly and vulnerable to stay indoors, local businesses have worked tirelessly to ensure we can still eat, shop, learn and be entertained during a trying and unprecedented time. As Headteacher of Ghyll Royd School in Burley-in-Wharfedale, I am happy to see that our schools are also stepping up to support their communities.

As you drive by Ashlands Primary School and Ben Rhydding Primary School, you will see two big, beautiful rainbows made by the children of key workers, brightening up people’s moods even on the cloudiest of days. Staff at The Railway Children in Menston are sharing daily stories via Facebook to entertain the younger learners – familiar faces checking in, bringing a bit of routine in a time where Tuesdays feel like Sundays and 6am feels like 5pm.

As educators, we have a responsibility to our families to support their children’s learning and wellbeing in a place where everyone feels safe. With today’s technologies, we have the ability to continue that safe space online.

At Ghyll Royd School, we have worked with IT specialists to launch a home learning platform which provides lessons via secure video link, enabling the continuation of their daily timetable, plus daily online challenges. This will allow children the ability to learn and connect with their teachers during the day and also engage with others through sharing their challenge attempts.

The children have been keeping morale high by joining in with the challenges which included a task for the children to call a loved one and sing them a song or play them a tune and a challenge to help their parents with different household chores. Specialist Art Teacher Keeley Smith had a huge response to her art replica challenge including a 21st century version of ‘The Son of Man’ and a girl with a plasticine earring!

The photos shared have been a really big hit in the Ghyll Royd School community and I would like to encourage schoolchildren throughout the Wharfe Valley to join in. We are launching a virtual art gallery made of homemade replicas of famous art. Please submit your replicas to by Friday 1st May 2020 in order to be featured from Monday 4th May 2020. Your entries should include your child’s creation with their name, school and age.

It is a perfect chance to get creative and spread a bit of happiness during a taxing time. My advice to all families during this time is to not stress over workload; is my child doing enough/not enough/too much? Enjoy this rare time together as a family – go on that safe walk, bake that cake and join in with our fun challenge!