Parents having to go online to find schools as open evenings cancelled

Parents are having to "shop" online to find a school for their children as the coronavirus makes traditional open events impossible.

Sarah Finch
Sarah Finch

The Marches Academy Trust schools have taken the concept of open days on a new pathway this year, with all of the activities and events being hosted online.

The trust, which includes The Marches School, Shrewsbury Academy, Sir John Talbot in Whitchurch and The Grove, Market Drayton, said that a decision was made in conjunction with other schools in Shropshire to not invite new students and their parents to visit the school in order to reduce any risk of transmission of Covid-19.

Trust chief executive Sarah Finch said: "This created an exciting opportunity for the team within the Trust to move the focus away from the facilities to being about the relationships: staff and students; students and their peers; Headteacher and staff; support staff; current parents and everyone that makes up the school community.

"This is an area the Trust schools struggle to showcase during a normal open event so this year they have used this to do lots of videos to show what their schools are like from arriving to school, social times, lessons, lunchtimes, pastoral help and sport.

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"It has been a huge amount of work and shows how the education sector is continually adapting to ensure the school communities are kept informed.

“Our open events are always so popular with both children and their parents. We have missed hosting events for them this year as we know how much they all love taking part in our activities and visiting our schools.

"We are aware parents like to visit the school and meet the teachers, so we have worked incredibly hard to make this happen virtually.

This way does make transition harder as you would not naturally choose a secondary school online but as with everything during this pandemic, we remain positive and engage with our communities in a different way.

"We are using the month of October to really help parents and their children make the right choice for their future. We thought being online would restrict our ability to showcase our schools, but we feel it has provided an opportunity to really show all aspects of a secondary school which we wouldn’t be able to do on one night as in previous years.

More information can be found through the schools' websites.

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