Pupils greet special visitor

First published on: 23rd September 2021

Bishop Mark has witnessed first-hand the resilience of pupils and teachers at two church schools in response to the disruption caused by Covid.

Having been consecrated at the height of the pandemic in the UK, the visit to Grace Darling C of E Primary School in Newbiggin-by-the-Sea and Duke’s Secondary School in Ashington was one of the first opportunities for Bishop Mark to get out to meet some of the children and young people in Northumberland.

During his visit, Bishop Mark was treated to a tour of the Grace Darling campus, visiting each class in turn to view their displays and find out how they were settling back into school.

He met with the school’s ‘Gardening Gang’ who look after the school’s outdoor spaces and spoke with staff about the school’s involvement in the Thrive programme for promoting positive mental health and wellbeing in children.

At Duke’s Secondary School campus, Bishop Mark met with the school’s Principal, Russ Atkinson, and was shown around some of the classrooms where Covid catch up sessions were taking place for students in critical exam years.

The day was rounded off with a meeting of school leaders from across Northumberland Church of England Academy Trust, of which Grace Darling C of E Primary School and Duke’s Secondary School are members.

Bishop Mark said: “I’ve been really impressed by what I’ve seen today. The resilience that has been shown by teachers and pupils during what has been an incredibly challenging time for schools is just amazing and it’s great to see how people have come together to support each other. I’d like to thank Northumberland Church of England Academy Trust for having me today and I’ll look forward to visiting again in future.”

Alan Hardie, CEO at Northumberland Church of England Academy Trust, added: “It was wonderful to have Bishop Mark with us. At NCEAT, we value our close working relationship with the Dioceses of Newcastle and Durham and it is always a pleasure to host members of the clergy at our schools.”

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