Ex police chief is schools hero
The old ways are definitely the best when it comes to helping youngsters learn through play.
That’s the verdict of former police chief-turned-teacher Andy Pratt and the pupils he is working with at St Stephen’s CE Primary in Preston.
The former police superintendent is volunteering with pupils at the South Meadow Lane school, teaching them a whole raft of new skills, from making bows and arrows and mud creatures to cooking over a camp fire - and the kids love it.
Andy retrained as a teacher in 2012 after 28 years in the police service.
The father-of-four and granddad to five did so he said, because he “missed being a dad.”
Headteacher Helen Wright said he was a local hero providing great support for the children of keyworkers while school is shut.
She added: “Andy has helped us to forget about the worries of coronavirus and volunteered to teach children new skills such as baking scones on an open fire or crafting models from natural materials.
"We have an environmental area on site which he helps to maintain with other willing volunteers and from here he also takes a small group of children outdoors as part of their regular nurture during term time.”
He also volunteers every Friday to collect food from Fair Share, so that families in the area can access fruit, vegetables and other goods in return for a donation of what they want to give.
Besides retraining to be a schoolteacher, Andy Pratt also learned Forest School skills with the Lancashire Wildlife Trust.
He uses those skills teach the children.
The children spend the first par t of their day outside with Andy and he says the youngsters have been embracing learning life skills.
He said: “They are learning without releasing it.
" I have taught them how to light an outdoor fire safely, with confidence and cook over it.
"We’ve made bows and arrows and had little competitions , made mud slugs and we tell stories developing t creativity and communcation.”