Monday 13th September 2021

Staff at St Christopher’s EYFS and Sunflowers Nursery, in Gibraltar, have been awarded a Commendation from Commander British Forces, in recognition of their contribution to the wellbeing of MOD families during lockdown.

Having recognised the additional strain lockdown posed to serving families in their community, staff at the schools and settings worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to support families where possible, providing childcare to essential workers and delivering remote learning alongside parents.

Staff devised initiatives to maintain strong links within the wider forces’ community, as families were isolated from each other, including arranging for key figures from Command to record virtual story times for the children.

Commodore S Dainton, who awarded the accolade to staff, said families had been extremely well served by St Christopher’s and Sunflowers Nursery.

He added: “Miss Stephens (as Headteacher) and Ms Blofield (then Nursery Manager of Sunflowers) deserve particular mention for their leadership during testing times. Their efforts, and those of their fantastic staff, ensured that MOD families had the very best possible experience for their young children during difficult times, and for that they should be commended.”

The setting was put forward for the commendation by Wing Commander Nel Doherty, RAF Gibraltar, who said the Parent Governors of the school and settings were delighted that the hard work and dedication of the staff had been recognised. She described the skill and devotion of the team as “exceptional” adding: “The level of both online learning and welfare support provided was key to enabling key workers and families to continue to function.

“Their efforts since the very outset of the pandemic have been outstanding with both settings providing something of a haven away from the Covid-19 madness during our two lockdowns.”

Headteacher Vicky Stephens said she recognised the second lockdown in particular had the potential to be a really challenging time for the community.

She added: “We wanted families to feel empowered to support their children’s learning while at home and for the activities and resources provided to be something that the whole family could get involved with.

“As a team, we feel honoured to have been recognised for the work that we do, but we couldn’t have done this without the engagement and support of our families.”

Bev Martin, Head of Defence Children Services, which manages all MOD Schools and Settings around the world, said she was extremely proud of the outstanding level of support offered by St Christopher’s EYFS and Sunflowers Nursery provided to their Serving families.

“They have continued to educate the young people and support the families which has allowed parents, who are key workers, to continue their vital work in protecting our nation,” she said.

See also: Education and Childcare

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