When schools do reopen, we know that when they do, things are not going to be quite the way they were before the closures. We do know that schools will face challenges that nobody could have foreseen just a matter of weeks ago. Importantly, we also know that schools will play a vital role in helping the UK start the journey of returning to something a little more normal. I am happy to say that Protocol Education stands ready to play a full part in supporting schools both now and as they begin to reopen.
During the closures, Protocol Education has remained fully open and working hard to prepare for schools' return. We took the decision not to furlough any of our corporate staff. We wanted to ensure we were available to help our schools, even if it was for a chat or as a shoulder to cry on during these stressful times. We know the best way to help schools is to ensure we have a great pool of available candidates ready for when they open. Our primary focus over these weeks has been to recruit additional candidates and to prepare our existing candidates in the best way possible for when schools do need them.
For our existing pool of teachers, support and nursery staff, we have led the market by providing them with the best possible support during the school closures. We launched a furlough scheme, with payment before the Government scheme opened, to ensure they and their families were looked after, while also providing them with the opportunity to work via our Online Teaching Service to help prevent vulnerable children from falling behind. Our focus always has been to ensure our candidates are looked after and can remain available when you need them.
When schools return, we anticipate a greater need to help address the learning gap created by the shutdown. To help with this, we have provided training opportunities for our candidates in areas we feel will be useful to reopening school. This means we will be able to provide flexible staff to manage an increased need for academic interventions, behaviour mentoring and SEMH support.
So, whenever schools reopen, we will have a flexible workforce ready to help them. From covering staff who are unable to return due to self-isolation or shielding to providing additional mentors to help pupils settle back into the classroom and manage any associated anxiety they may be experiencing; we will be there. We are ready to help support you, standing shoulder to shoulder with our candidates and our schools.