Hornchurch teacher providing free lessons for primary school children during holidays

James Smith has founded Class Connect and is offering free lessons for primary school pupils this su

James Smith has founded Class Connect and is offering free lessons for primary school pupils this summer. Picture: Mark Lautman - Credit: Mark Lautman

A Hornchurch teacher is offering free lessons to the borough’s primary school children this summer.

James Smith founded Class Connect, which will provide tuition in English, maths and PE over video conferencing tool Zoom for five to 11-year-olds during the holidays.

The four-week summer programme is being delivered in year group settings and James said more than 250 pupils will take part.

Schools were forced to close due to the coronavirus pandemic and only reception, year one and year six children were able to return before the end of the school year.

James said: “I was inspired to create this business due to the number of children who had missed out on weeks of education by not being in school.

“Coronavirus has set back many pupils’ education, but our free online summer support programme provides an excellent way for pupils to catch up and put them in a good position for the start of the new term in September.”

Three other teachers will join James in providing the lessons, which begin this week.

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James is a deputy headteacher at a Havering school and said he hit upon the idea for Class Connect while setting up lockdown lessons.

He added: “Many children have not been brought to school due to parental fears.

“My school managed to enable all of the children back to school if their parents wanted them to come back in.

“During lockdown, we taught numerous Zoom classes to our pupils and it was while organising these that I came up with the idea for this business.”

The dad-of-one said he planned to keep offering tuition in the autumn term but that parents would need to pay for a continued service.

“After the summer we will offer extra tuition,” he said. “This is something numerous children have been lucky to have for years. We want to be able to offer an affordable alternative to parents from September.

“Our goal is to make outstanding educational support available and affordable to as many families as possible.

“But our immediate priority is for as many Havering pupils as possible to benefit from this free summer programme.”