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Schools and colleges support front-line workers during COVID-19 pandemic

Across the North East, schools and colleges have been coming forward to support front-line services in the fight against COVID-19. Matt Joyce, Regional Lead for North East Ambition, takes a look at the ways in which schools in the region have helped.

While schools and colleges have been facing huge challenges themselves over the past few weeks in terms of putting in place remote learning and supporting vulnerable children and families, they have also been working to support the NHS and other front-line services.

Staff and students across the North East have been involved in producing PPE and volunteering their time, demonstrating just how central schools and colleges are to our communities.

Here are some examples of how schools and colleges have used their equipment and expertise to help.

County Durham

Durham UTC: A Durham student has launched an online fitness shop to help people keep fit while the country is on lockdown.

New College Durham: New College Durham is putting its 3D printer to good use by producing much needed personal protective equipment for NHS workers, and students are putting the skills they have learnt at New College Durham to good use as they take on key worker roles during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tanfield School: Tanfield School's staff made protective visors for local care homes and medical centres.

The Academy at Shotton Hall: Teachers used the school’s laser cutter to make the protective visors using polypropylene and acetate.

UTC South Durham: UTC South Durham’s head of maths organised a virtual challenge to raise funds for materials to make PPE visors.

Various schools in Sunderland and County Durham: Schools across Sunderland and County Durham are lending a helping hand to the NHS during lockdown, making visors, scrub bags and other items of PPE.


Central Primary School: Pupils used 3D printers to create PPE equipment for key workers.

Duke’s Secondary School: The school has donated safety glasses and disposable gloves to local hospitals and care facilities.

Queen Elizabeth High School: The school’s Curriculum Leader for Technology produced adjustable head bands and face shields for the NHS.

Various Northumberland Schools: Working to approved designs, technology departments in schools across Northumberland have set up their own PPE production lines, assembling reusable protective visors for front-line healthcare staff.

North Tyneside

Various North Tyneside schools: Pupils from Valley Gardens Middle School, Whitley Bay High and Marden High School, all North Tyneside, and Royal Grammar School student, Theo Wride, are making personal protective equipment for NHS front-line staff.


Seaham High School: Staff produced visors and face shields for the local community including care workers, chemists and NHS staff.

Thornhill Academy: Teachers at Thornhill Academy have turned the technology department into a PPE production line for care homes in the area.

Newcastle upon Tyne

Longbenton High School: Longbenton High School has been producing PPE for front line staff.

Newcastle College: Newcastle College has donated PPE to local healthcare providers.

North East Futures UTC: A team is doing a lockdown trek to raise funds for St Oswald’s Hospice.

Royal Grammar School, Newcastle: Using 3D printers to make visor parts, 40+ visors have been collected by GPs and a year 11 student is producing four face screens a day using their own 3D printer.

South Tyneside

Mortimer Community College: Mortimer Community College has donated visors to volunteers at its local food bank.

Tyne Coast College: Learners from Tyne Coast College’s catering courses have been working voluntarily at South Tyneside Hospital.


Cardinal Hume Catholic School: The Careers Lead at Cardinal Hume Catholic School has been making Visors for NHS, linking up with other schools to increase productivity.

Emmanuel College: Workshops at Emmanuel College have been transformed into a production line for PPE.

Gateshead College: Gateshead College’s Skills Academy was re-opened to provide facilities for the manufacture of PPE.