A SOUTHAMPTON school has been using its specialist equipment to produce Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for the NHS.

The Design and Technology Department’s laser cutter at King Edward VI School has been working overtime during the Easter holiday with over 100 visors manufactured and distributed to workers at Southampton Children’s Hospital and other local NHS hospitals, surgeries, and social care facilities so far.

Keen to use their resources to supply more vital equipment to frontline workers, King Edward’s then sourced and ordered appropriate materials and sewing patterns to add surgical gowns and scrubs to the production schedule. After the prototypes were approved and deemed fit for purpose by medical professionals, a team of 11 staff volunteers fired up the sewing machines at home or at school.

For those isolating at home, the raw materials were cut to the correct specifications and packaged to be assembled and collected, whilst several sewing stations were set up on the school site to create a production hub which met social distancing regulations.

The school have also been offering a local delivery service to isolated and vulnerable residents in the area, alongside assisting staff at Southampton City Mission to distribute to food banks. A number of pairs of gloves have also been donated to Southampton City Council’s catering courier services.

The volunteers also include members of staff from Stroud School in Romsey, the preparatory school of King Edward's.

Neal Parker, who took up the position of headteacher at King Edward's in September, told the Daily Echo: "As a new Head at King Edward’s, and being new to the area, I had already had so much cause this year to be proud of our school and our city. But the immediate and positive response from my colleagues and the wider KES community when it was suggested that we could help to manufacture PPE for the NHS has undoubtedly been my proudest moment yet.

"From day one we offered to deliver essential supplies to local vulnerable residents, and now we are making both face masks and scrubs for NHS clinics and hospitals. I find it so moving that our community is helping as best we can, and also entirely in keeping with the character and commitment of my teaching and non-teaching colleagues alike. As a school we just want to do our bit in support of our wonderful healthcare workers during this very difficult time."