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Eton Welcomes and Celebrates Key Workers

Eton Welcomes and Celebrates Key Workers

On the day that lockdown was enforced in the United Kingdom, Eton announced a range of initiatives to help our local community in a time of national crisis.

School for children of key workers, using Eton’s buildings and resources, has been running since late March, facilitated by the support and expertise of local primary schools. Free access to EtonX, the school’s online learning platform, has been offered to all UK state schools, and nearly 1,000 schools have joined us on the platform. EtonX offers a variety of courses, including self-study courses on essay writing, CV construction, resilience, entrepreneurship, critical thinking and creative problem solving. Finally, Eton pledged to open up boarding houses to key workers in need of accommodation. It is this third strand of Eton’s key worker provision which has seen Eton’s community come together by sharing its resources, to thank those working on the frontline who are responsible for our safety and security.

Around 180 key workers have stayed in Eton’s boarding houses so far, inhabiting spaces normally occupied by hundreds of teenage scholars. Doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, police officers, fire and prison officers have been supported by over 20 Eton staff, who have volunteered in four boarding houses which re-opened in March. Alongside Eton’s frontline staff who have cooked for and cleaned the boarding houses, our security department have acted as a ‘hotel reception’ for incoming guests. Bekynton, the school’s catering department, have supplied regular meals and snacks as guests arrive and depart depending on their shift times, and the laundry department has been washing scrubs for our local hospital.

The sacrifice our guests make every day of their working lives has reminded us of our privilege in living and working as we do in such incredible surroundings, dependant on the service of those on the frontline. We have been honoured to provide them with a safe and comfortable environment to return to at night, when many are self-isolating to protect vulnerable relatives, or are working away from home. Below are some examples of the wonderful relationships which have been built, and programmes developed, during this time of insecurity:

A pen pal initiative has been established in Cotton Hall, with regular emails winging their way between key workers and the boys whose rooms they are staying in. Boys and key workers have traded stories about their families, concerns about the current pandemic, and shared ‘views from my window’.

Regular flowers and baked goods have been donated by members of the Eton community to key worker guests for them to enjoy after a long shift.

Socially distanced catch ups are offered in boarding houses to give guests a chance to decompress.

The College Collections team have written about Eton’s history of boy service during times of national crisis. You can read about their efforts on the home front during the Second World War here

Key workers have introduced the Eton community to local fundraising efforts, including charities supporting women and children at risk of domestic abuse such as The Dash Charity, First Days and Wexham Park Hospital’s ICU and Mental Health Specialist Support Team.


DATE POSTED: 10 June 2020
Parents & Pupils2020

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