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'We are not the Covid generation, we are not the lost generation'

Principal Rick Carroll of Thomas Deacon Academy has opposed claims of a "lost generation" adding that the term just "fuels negativity".
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'We are not the Covid generation, we are not the lost generation' Photo: Supplied

After all students returned to school on March 8, Principal Rick Carroll said he was "very proud" of what the students and staff had done during the time away, but added there was "no substitute" to having the students back in school. 

However, while they're happy to have the students return, many have faced challenges with their education after a loss of time studying, but to tackle this, they have focused on their "Project Thrive". 

Mr Carroll said: "We never seek excuses. I don't like the term 'catch up', we are not the Covid generation, we are not the lost generation, that's just fuelling negativity. 

"We are embracing the additional catch up money that schools are getting, but we're now focusing on Project Thrive; we think about how to identify gaps in students' knowledge, and it's not by testing them every five minutes. Our online platforms have allowed us to monitor progress, so we ensure that students have necessary skills and character to thrive. 

"Ultimately, character comes from the extra skills we can support them with, Project Thrive is how we utilise the period at the end of our school day which we call consolidation and care, which was introduced before the pandemic.

"If a student needs help with a subject, there will be a member of staff available to help them a the end of the school day, and on the care side, we know that there are students who have struggled with the most recent lockdown so we are working with them and their families to give help and support."

Mr Carroll explained that as part of Project Thrive, they're hoping that all of their Year 9 students will be able to do DofE Bronze this year to support their confidence. 

He added: "We will be doing more to support our students in catch up, but we will be doing the right kind of more."

Some of the things that were implemented in the school due to Covid-19 may stay long-term too, Mr Carroll explained. 

He said: "We have the morning registration and we are now introducing an afternoon registration too. This means the students' tutor has the chance to review the day with them, I believe a tutor is a students' advocate. They will sort our uniform issues, check they have all equipment and they are the first safeguarding check, they challenge them but support them too.

"I believe we will keep the aspect of how we do lunchtime. We're spreading it over a longer period of time and giving students more enrichment opportunities, these are things we certainly want to keep."

At TDA, students have focused widely on supporting charities, working with members of the community and supporting key dates like mental health week. 

Mr Carroll added: "We’re really delighted with how students returned, kids are very resilient and they got on with it and they’re getting into it. 

"All staff and students will return to an even better TDA way. When we’re looking at what we want to achieve for our students, we want to look at supporting students and put that push on character, I’ve recruited three new staff to the character team and we are looking at what we want to achieve."

TDA has also been working proactively with the likes of the Light Project Peterborough and other local charities.