VOLCANIC ash failed to stop one Banbury teacher taking his lesson – even though he was 900 miles away in Spain.
When business studies teacher Chris Orr set off on an Easter break to Alicante little did he know he would be one of thousands of Brits stranded by the no-fly zone imposed across the country.
But he was not going to let distance come between him and his A-Level students.
Mr Orr found an Internet cafe and, after a quick email to the school’s IT department and help from communications software Skype, he was able to speak directly to pupils at Sibford School, in Sibford Ferris, near Banbury.
Skype software allows people to communicate face to face over a computer screen.
Mr Orr, who was due to fly back last Friday, said: “There is no reason why 900 or so miles should be a barrier to education.
“With the exam looming I was not going to not be there for my pupils so, as soon as I realised I was going to be stranded, I started thinking of ways round the situation.
“I emailed our IT technician to let him know I’d be at the Internet café and by the time the lesson was ready to start, the link had been made.”
Student Henry Hobill said: “We’d heard Mr Orr had not been able to get back from holiday, but when we got to the lesson there he was, larger than life, on the screen.”
Another student Chloe Fergusson said: “We never thought we would be left without any work, but it’s really good to know that, despite Mr Orr not being here in person, we can still ask him about anything we’re not sure of – especially with the exam coming up next month.”
Headteacher Michael Goodwin said: “This is an excellent use of technology and I congratulate Chris on his resourcefulness.
“When things like this happen you realise how small the world really is.
“We’ve got a couple of other members of staff unable to get back from holiday who have emailed cover material and we are also putting up work on our internal website for our pupils who are stuck overseas.”
Mr Orr hopes to be able to return to Britain on Friday, and will be teaching via Skype until then.
Meanwhile, 16 teaching staff from King Alfred’s School, in Wantage, have been stranded by the ban on flights. It was reported today that the county’s schools were spending £50,000 a day on supply staff.