Pupils aged 12-15 at Newcastle-upon-Tyne’s Excelsior Academy, a member of the Laidlaw Schools Trust, have become the first in the North East region to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

On Wednesday 22nd of September, between 100 and 200 secondary pupils at Excelsior Academy became the first 12-15-year-olds in the North East to receive their initial dose of the Pfizer vaccine. Pupils are only vaccinated with the prior written consent of their parent or guardian, with the school providing thorough information about the vaccine and organising an online event for parents to hear from healthcare professionals.

James Andriot, Principal at Excelsior Academy, explained that the vaccine rollout will help prevent COVID-related disruption to education that schools experienced last year and allow children to continue learning in the classroom. Previously, Excelsior Academy set up a pop-up vaccination centre on the A-Level results day in August, offering vaccinations to 16+ pupils collecting their results, as well as staff, families of students, and anyone in the local community.

“Between September and December 2020, there were 70 pupil cases of COVID at the school, spread over those months. That equated to a large amount of learning lost for those children as well as others who had to isolate. Hundreds of days of learning were lost. Then in January, we went into lockdown and we moved to virtual learning. Like other schools, we had a very disruptive academic year last year. But we have had a better start to this year and we’ve had a positive start to the vaccination programme,” – he added.