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Prince Charles heartbreak: Prince issues emotional tribute to teachers as UK schools open

Prince Charles issued an emotional statement on the challenges the coronavirus crisis has presented to teachers and families equally over the past three months. The Prince of Wales acknowledged how difficult these weeks are being for parents, who have to juggle between their work, home and homeschooling. 

But he also highlighted the efforts of thousands of teachers who walked the extra mile to make sure their pupils were taken care of way beyond their education.

He said: "I can only begin to imagine how challenging it has been for young people and family to adapt, in particular I am thinking of those families who simply do not have the resources, such as online devices - or even the internet - that are needed for effective homeschooling.

"Parents have done an astonishing job in such trying circumstances.

"And to see teachers and school going above and beyond for their pupil in response to this pandemic has been in many instances quite remarkable. 

"From finding creative ways to teach lessons remotely and even making sure the most vulnerable children don't go without meals, we all owe them a huge debt of gratitude".

Prince Charles spoke as the patron of education charity Teach First.

Issuing this statement from his home office at his Scottish residence in Birkhall, the Prince of Wales expressed his pride over the work done by this organisation.

He said: "Their work to support schools to build a fair education for all, which also produces enhanced results, is more important now than ever. It will be all the more vital in the recovery ahead.

"As our schools begin to open again and the first students return to the classroom, their job will present further challenges - helping children to get back on track with learning, and supporting them to come to terms with all they have been through."

Russell Hobby, CEO of Teach First said: "It's fantastic to see the incredible work of every teacher and every school being recognised today.

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"All teachers have worked tirelessly throughout this period to support their pupils and we are immensely grateful to each of them."

Prince Charles's show of support for teachers came two days after the Department for Education announced a package of new online resources and funding to help schools tackle any mental health issues their pupils may have.

The online materials to be made available include resources designed by health and education experts aiming to boost mental health support to pupils and help them open up more on their anxieties and concerns.

The Department for Education has also announced grants worth more than £750,000 for the Diana Award, the Anti-Bullying Alliance and the Anne Frank Trust.  

These charities, the Education Department said, help hundreds of schools and colleges build relationships between pupils, boost their resilience, and tackle bullying both in person and online.

Many teachers have continued to work throughout the peak of the pandemic to provide education and support to children of key workers.

On June 1, children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 were allowed to return to school. 

Last week, the Government also issued new guidance regarding a phased reopening of secondary school. 

It read: "We are asking secondary schools to offer this face-to-face support to supplement the remote education of year 10 and year 12 pupils, which should remain the predominant mode of education during this term for pupils in these year groups."

However, several schools in north-west England has decided to delay the reopening of their classrooms over concerns the coronavirus infection rate is on the rise. 

Public Health England released on Friday data showing an R value of 1.01 for the North West and 1.0 for the South West, with all other regions below one.

The R value indicates the ability of COVID-19 to spread through the population.

When the R is one or higher, the virus is likely to spread faster.  

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