A Cockermouth primary school welcomed a special visitor – the Chief Inspector of Schools.

Amanda Spielman visited Bridekirk Dovenby School following an invitation from head teacher Julia Fish. She had heard Ms Spielman on the radio, talking about education during the pandemic.

“I invited her to visit and witness all the hard work the children and staff had been doing,” said Mrs Fish, who was delighted when Ms Spielman took up the offer and travelled from London the day before the second national lockdown.

She was given a tour of the school, visiting each classroom and watching lessons taking place. A group of children recited a poem about Bridekirk’s ‘Can Do Story’, written by assistant headteacher, Fiona Taylor, chronicling the events since schools closed in March.

“Each child entertained Amanda with a verse recounting how the teachers provided for learning during lockdown using Seesaw – a fun, versatile and rewarding online learning platform that the teachers had researched, tested and implemented over Easter,” said Mrs Fish.

“Teachers were then asked to demonstrate to Amanda the highlights of the children’s work and how they overcame challenges along the way.

“Throughout this, Amanda asked questions and prompted discussion, seeking clarification about some of the lessons she was shown.

“Mrs Taylor presented charts to demonstrate pupil attainment levels on return to school in September and how these statistics had informed decisions about allocation of the government catch-up funding.”

Ms Spielman said: “It was an enormous pleasure to see how well teachers and children have coped, and are still coping, with an extraordinary year.

“The hard work of teachers, pupils and parents over the last few months has meant that children have been able to catch up on the learning they missed while the school was closed to most of them.”

Mrs Fish said: “It was certainly a memorable morning in the life of our school.”