Teachers stranded in wake of volcano

SCHOOLS across Bexhill are battling to cover classes after 18 teachers were stranded abroad by the volcanic ash in Britain's airspace.

And, with exam season just around the corner, some of the 50-plus students trapped as far away as Asia and Florida have asked for work to be sent via email to avoid lagging behind.

Doreen Cronin, principal of St Richards, said her staff were pulling together to avoid disrupting pupil's learning.

Sign up to our daily SussexWorld Today newsletter

"Eight members of staff are currently stranded abroad," she said, "with two members confined to their hotel due to the political situation in Thailand."

"All have been in touch to set work for their classes and all are in good spirits despite their desire to return to their homes.

"We also have 34 pupils stranded '“ some of whom are taking GCSEs next month. A number of the pupils have emailed staff for work so that they can keep up-to-date."

At the time of going to press, two teachers from Bexhill High School were stuck in Spain as a result of the six-day flight shutdown after an Icelandic volcano erupted last week, though with UK airports scrambling to get flight schedules back on track they can expect to be back in the classroom before long.

Matt Eades, project manager for the new school on Gunters Lane, managed to get home from Barcelona by pitching in with a group of tourists who organised a coach. Headteacher Mike Conn returned home from China in the nick of time.

Linda Johnson, director of teaching and learning at Bexhill College, managed to drive back from Portugal, but eight of her colleagues were not so lucky.

Lee Redfearn, of Bexhill College, confirmed 23 students were stranded, with the majority of them in Los Angeles and Florida.

The AS and A-Level exam timetable begins on May 17, meaning some pupils have just three weeks till they turn over their papers. GCSEs start at around the same date, making this a crucial period for pupils to be studying.

Were you trapped aboard due to the Icelandic volcano? If so, The Observer would like to hear from you. Please contact us with your story on [email protected] or call on 01424 730555.