The head teacher at a Derby special school has praised the work of Derby County Community Trust for their help in providing additional resources during the Easter break.

The UK Government took the decision to close all schools in England on 20th March due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

However, St Giles School – the city’s only special primary school – has been offering an alternative provision for its most vulnerable pupils and those whose parents or carers are classed as key workers.

Clive Lawrence, executive head at St Giles School, says that he is ‘extremely grateful’ to the support the school has received from Derby County Community Trust; the charity arm of the football club which has been providing free educational resources for primary schools in the city during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Lawrence singled out sports coaches Zack Yates and Andy Bromyard, who have been helping with craft sessions, playing board games with pupils and helping out at lunch time.

He said: “I am extremely grateful to Derby County Community Trust for providing our school with two sports coaches during a time of challenge and uncertainty for our school community and the country as a whole.

“Zack and Andy were truly exceptional; they went above and beyond their duties to help support our pupils who really need to access provision at this difficult time. This is either because their parents are key workers or for other exceptional circumstances.

“Due to our pupils having Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), Zack and Andy were very flexible and accommodating, often supporting children beyond sports coaching sessions.

“The staff at St Giles have overwhelmingly praised them both for their efforts and our pupils really enjoyed having them around.”

St Giles regularly access provisions made available by Derby County Community Trust (DCCT), which was named the EFL’s Midlands Community Club of the Year 2020 in March.

In 2018, three members of the St Giles School teaching staff – Karen Toulson, Laura Taylor and Beth Rogers, plus pupils Declan Taylor and Daniel Flood – visited Kenya with the Trust, to see what life is like in the Rhonda slum areas of Nakuru.

The pupils spent time in a local school while members of staff volunteered their services in what was described as an “eye-opening” and “uplifting” experience.

During the Coronavirus pandemic, the Community Trust have made all of their resources available to primary school pupils free of charge.

Lauren Asquith, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Manager of Derby County Community Trust, said: “We are honoured to have supported St Giles through an extremely difficult period and to allow their staff some time off whilst ensuring pupils were still cared for.

“It is so important for Derby County Community Trust to support our community. However, we can, in these times, and we are so glad to have provided two coaches with specific SEND experience to make a difference to staff, pupils and the families at St Giles.”