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Teachers making visors for frontline NHS staff

Teachers at Bishopston Comprehensive School are putting their skills to good use by helping to protect frontline NHS staff in the city.

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Design and Technology teachers Gareth Cartwright (pictured) and George Viggers are producing medical visors that are already being used on the wards at Morriston and Singleton Hospitals.

Through a family connection, Gareth is very much aware of the pressures that hospital staff are facing during the mounting coronavirus crisis.

With the support of the school's leadership team, he explored whether the 3D printers the school uses with GCSE students could be employed in an inventive and inspirational way.

After consulting with Professor Iain Whitaker (Morriston Hospital & Swansea University), Gareth and George are now using an approved template to produce the medical visors.

With the academic year having been cut short, they have enough materials left over to produce around 200 initially, but are hoping to get more supplies.

Bishopston School 3D printed visors 01Measures are in place to ensure the masks are sanitised and fit for use in hospital. Swansea Council is also playing a key role in sourcing materials and associated documentation relating to the project.

The Bishopston teachers are liaising with colleagues in other schools to see if they can join forces and utilise their printers to maximise the impact of this initiative.

Ceri Thomas, Head of D&T at Gowerton Comprehensive School is also being very proactive in liaising with other Design and Technology departments in Swansea and further West. The response from other schools have been extremely positive and an effective and coordinated production line for the medical visors is under way.

Curriculum area leader for D&T, Gareth Cartwright: "It has been a quick turnaround - we only got started last week - but the visors are already being used by staff on the wards. Those on the frontline really are heroes so we are delighted to be able to help."

Bishopston Headteacher, Jeff Bird: "It's fantastic to see schools across Swansea working collaboratively on this life saving initiative. Many schools have already contributed from existing PPE stock such as goggles, aprons and safety glasses. I'm very proud that as well as providing emergency childcare for key workers during this difficult time, members of our staff have shown the creativity and ingenuity to find another valuable way to support the NHS."

Senior consultant at Morriston Hospital's burns and plastics unit, Professor Iain Whitaker: "It's heart-warming to hear that people are willing to help at this time. Protective equipment is very much in need on the front line until efficient local distribution networks are established.

"The Royal Mint has done a great job and many others are beginning to deliver visors and other equipment that are in use protecting front line doctors and nurses on the respiratory units, accident and emergency department, the wards and the Intensive Care Unit at present.

"The work that Bishopston and their staff are doing in this instance is hugely appreciated, will definitely help protect staff, and we're working hard to provide funding to enable these ventures and others to continue."

Councillor Jennifer Raynor, Swansea Cabinet Member for Education Improvement, Learning and Skills, said: "In these exceptional times people are finding many ways to pull-together and help each other and I would like to thank all involved."

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