Teachers at Bristol's City Academy say children are 'suffering' under lockdown

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Teaching staff say they're worried for the safety of some of their most vulnerable children who are unable to attend school during the coronavirus crisis.

Schools with a higher proportion of vulnerable children face mounting challenges in maintaining their education without regular contact.

With the risk of children living in extreme poverty, or facing domestic violence, teachers say lockdown could have lasting consequences on their pupils.

As well as safety concerns, there are worries that pupils who rely on one-to-one education and immersive learning will not progress the way they should be.

Some children in the vulnerable category do not speak English as a first language, and many don't have access to the internet, both of which pose considerable problems for teachers trying to continue lessons from a distance.

One head teacher in Bristol told us it will be 'September at the earliest' before his school returns to any sort of normality, and fears those most in need will be the worst affected by the changes.

City Academy has a high proportion of vulnerable pupils it says will be the worst affected.

More than 850 students are enrolled at City Academy in the centre of Bristol, almost half of whom don't speak English as a first language, and for those who are not online it's proving difficult to educate them remotely.

Only a fraction of the pupils are still in school as children of key workers, and the reduced capacity means teachers are left with classrooms of students of varying age and ability.

One head of department at the school says the children are 'suffering' under lockdown, but doesn't think it'll be much easier when restrictions are eased.

Teachers say they fear that attendance will need to be staggered, which could have lasting effects on the education of the children who need it most.

I am worried about children who will be in home environments where there will potentially be a rise in domestic violence.

Aisha Thomas, Assistan Principal, City Academy