Kenilworth primary school goes ‘way beyond’ to cheer up pupil whose mother fell ill

From left to right: Rebecca Augustus, Felicity Augustus, and Emily Cossins
From left to right: Rebecca Augustus, Felicity Augustus, and Emily Cossins

A Kenilworth woman who fell ill unexpectedly has praised staff at a primary school for going ‘way beyond’ what she would expect to keep her daughter’s spirits up while she was in hospital.

Mother-of-two and social worker Rebecca Augustus, 42, of Towers Close, became ill with jaundice at the end of November following an operation.

She was forced to stay in hospital for five days and nights at short notice to recover, leaving her husband Neil to look after their children, five-year-old Felicity and three year-old Robin on his own.

Rebecca’s stay in hospital had a strong effect on Felicity, a Year One pupil at St John’s Primary School in Mortimer Road. She was very worried about her mother’s condition.

When she came into school for the first time on Monday November 21 after Rebecca’s absence, Felicity’s teacher, Emily Cossins, immediately noticed that something was wrong with her because she was much quieter than usual.

She said: “Felicity is normally the chirpiest of children. It was obvious we had to address it quite quickly because it was going to affect her learning.

“We just wanted to make sure she was OK.”

By coincidence, two other pupils were struggling with relatives falling ill, so Emily with the help of teaching assistant Natalie Bramwell decided to set up a morning group for the three children to try and cheer them up before the bulk of the school day.

The children would play games and have a chance to talk to Emily and Natalie if they wanted to.

And these sessions made a change to Felicity’s mood almost straight away.

Emily added: “Because we had two other children going through the same things as Felicity it seemed like the perfect opportunity to set up this group for them.

“It just gave them the chance to talk about openly about how they were feeling and that it was OK to be sad. I think it really benefited them.”

Towards the end of the week, Emily said Felicity actually became excited to attend the morning group, and this meant she was able to concentrate far better during the rest of the school day.

After her stint in hospital, Rebecca was full of praise for the school, and Emily and Natalie especially, in how they looked after Felicity while she was away.

Rebecca said: “My daughter was very worried about me and her teacher went way beyond what I would have expected in an effort to help her. They really worked hard to give her the support she needed.

“Felicity would cry in the morning before school, which was awful for me to know, but once they set up this group it got her laughing and smiling.

“St John’s say they’re a kind school, and that showed me that they really are what they say they are.”

Rebecca has now made a full recovery from her illness.