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Owen Humphreys/PA Wire
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Owen Humphreys/PA Wire
UK News

Christian teachers react to UK schools shutting down

by Tola Mbakwe

Christian teachers have expressed the importance of parents teaching their children about the sovereignty of God after the government ordered all schools to shut down amid the coronavirus outbreak. 

On Wednesday Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced school, college and nursery closures across the UK but promised the children of NHS and police workers and supermarket delivery drivers would still be able to attend, as would vulnerable children. 

Nizam Khan is a Christian teacher at St Mary Magdalene Academy in Islington. He told Premier the announcement was inevitable but was still a shock to the system for students and staff.

"We knew it was going to happen at some point, but it's just kind of a weird feeling. We have a contingency plan in place. So we're able to send work to students from home."

He said the reaction from students had been mixed as some are happy to have a break from the classroom but others are worried.

GCSEs and A-levels in both England and Wales will be cancelled, although the Prime Minister said there are plans for students to receive qualifications.

Wincey Nyakpenu, a Christian teacher at Enfield County Girls School, told Premier the uncertainty is hard for students to process and there are many questions left unanswered. 

"What does that mean? Does that mean that they're not going have any exams at all? Does it mean that they're not going to have any qualifications? How do you quantify what they've attained? So I think that's the concern. They don't know whether that's going to limit that opportunities for the future," she said. 

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said the Government would issue guidance on Friday on how pupils unable to sit their GCSEs and A-levels because of the school closures will be awarded their grades.

Meanwhile, Nyakpenu said it's important for Christian parents to use the school closures during the outbreak as an opportunity to teach about God's sovereignty. 

"It's about opening up the scriptures letting our children understand that God is sovereign," she said. 

"God is in everything, he's above all, he knows all, he's aware of what's going on. Everything happens for a reason and there's a time for everything, so looking at Lamentations or looking at different stories in the Old Testament. 

"Even look at [the book of] Matthew, just reminding our children not to be anxious and not to worry."

Both Nyakpenu and Khan said teachers would appreciate prayers for wisdom.

"Pray for wisdom, especially for head teachers and members of leadership teams because is like an unprecedented time that we're in," Khan said. 

"I think they need a lot of wisdom to make the right decisions and courage as well to make some decisions that might not be the most popular decision."

Nyakpenu added: "Definitely be praying over the anxiety that people are going to be feeling right now and particularly for students. Pray for those students that have upcoming exams, or for students that have parents that are key workers.

"Pray for their safety and that they will be able to have a level of peace that God brings. 

"Pray that this will pass, that the death toll will reduce and we'll find that there is that there is healing in this."

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