Staff at a Poole primary have been rewarded with surprise Blue Peter badges for their selfless work during the country’s first coronavirus lockdown.  

Year 6 students at Ocean Academy were so thankful for the dedication and care displayed by Principal Jo Quarrie, Vice Principal Loren Tharme, Assistant Principal Rachel Richardson, office manager Jane Burry, site manager Rick Mullins and receptionist Rhoda Fudge, they wrote to the CBBC TV programme.  

Mrs Quarrie told the Bournemouth Echo: ‘’It was a lovely surprise to receive the badges and completely unexpected. Our priority during lockdown was and still is, to make sure our students feel safe, looked after and have a real sense of stability. We knew our students and their parents appreciated everything that we did and this is a lovely way to show it.’’ This is testament to all school staff nationally who go above and beyond to support their pupils and families.”

LtoR: Jane Burry, Rachel Richardson, Jo Quarrie, Rhoda Fudge, Loren Tharme (not in the photo – Rick Mullins)

In the letter from the Year 6 bubble, written during their time back at school in the summer term following lockdown since March, the students highlight how the school staff are still working tirelessly. The children who were a mix of offspring of key workers or those who had been in lockdown and had returned to school in June following Government guidance, stated: ‘’They have been working incredibly hard throughout this pandemic to help and support our community and us. They have made everyone feel safe and cheerful by giving up their own time to deliver food and organise ways to help those who needed it most.  

‘’They are the kindest people we have ever met! On top of their regular tasks, they have been having meetings throughout the holidays and have been working non-stop every day, from very early in the morning to late at night. All their hard work has meant we have been able to come back in to school and feel safe, happy and comfortable.’’ 

The first national lockdown earlier this year saw all students, bar those of key workers or classed as vulnerable, study at home through online classrooms or learning packs.  

Select year groups returned to classrooms in the summer. A second national lockdown is now in place until December 2nd but this time schools have remained open.  

Vice Principal at Ocean, Loren Tharme, said: ‘’I was shocked and then really proud to find out about my Blue Peter badge. I was so proud that the students had arranged this on their own – they hadn’t been prompted to do it. Teaching is not a job you do for accolades but it is very nice to have our hard work recognised. A Blue Peter badge seems really elusive when you’re a child. Blue Peter is a programme the students will watch and they would have thought that we would appreciate having a badge.’’ 

Rachel Richardson, Assistant Principal at Ocean, added: ‘’It was really exciting to receive the badges and I was really chuffed. I have three children who all have Blue Peter badges and it’s been really nice to share with them that I now have one too!’’ 

Ocean Academy’s office manager, Jane Burry, said: ‘’The first lockdown was tough. We were here all the time and it was relentless but it gave us a sense of purpose. The students were our priority. To receive this Blue Peter badge is the icing on the cake.’’ 

Receptionist and finance assistant Rhoda Fudge said: ‘’I thought it was a joke to begin with! It’s so lovely the children recognised that the adults around them were doing everything they could to make sure they could come to school. ‘’ 

Blue Peter badges are a much sought-after prize on the long running children’s show and were first launched in 1963. They are normally given for appearing on the popular BBC TV programme or in recognition of a range of achievements.  

There are now 6 different badges, including a green one for environmental work and a gold one awarded for extreme acts of bravery.