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The Victory Academy in Chatham to close following death of teacher Sam Rooks

A school will be closed tomorrow after a teacher died in a road accident.

The Victory Academy in Chatham has decided to cancel lessons to allow the school community to mourn the death of English teacher Sam Rooks.

Sam Rooks was a teacher at Victory Academy in Chatham and died in a car crash. Picture: Twitter
Sam Rooks was a teacher at Victory Academy in Chatham and died in a car crash. Picture: Twitter

Mr Rooks - who was 26 and from Maidstone - was killed in a crash on Maidstone Road in Rochester on Friday afternoon when his red Suzuki Swift collided with a silver Volvo XC60.

Mandy Gage, Director of Education of the Thinking Schools Academy Trust, which leads The Victory Academy said: “Our whole school and trust community is devastated by the news that a brilliant and hugely popular member of our teaching staff has tragically died in a road traffic accident.

“Sam Rooks was a senior member of the English department at Victory, where he inspired his students every day. He was a teacher utterly committed to helping young people do well, and he was enormously well-liked by them, by parents and by his colleagues. We all already miss our friend terribly.

“Our deepest thoughts are with Sam’s family and friends at this incredibly difficult time, and we are providingsupport to all our students, their parents and our staff.”

The closure was announced in a letter to parents expressing devastation at the loss of the "incredibly popular" educator and set out the school's plans to allow colleagues and students to remember Mr Rooks, who was also an ambassador for the charity Teach First.

The Victory Academy in Chatham will be closed to mourn the death of teacher Sam Rooks
The Victory Academy in Chatham will be closed to mourn the death of teacher Sam Rooks

At midday books of condolence will be opened and pupils will be invited to write their memories of the popular teacher.

So social distancing can be maintained, the school has allocated times when each year group can come in to add their condolences.

A space has also been made for the laying of tributes, with the instruction that people should not linger or comfort each other to avoid the risk of spreading Covid-19.

Ms Gage's letter concludes: "Monday is when we will grieve together as a community.

"We will then create longer term plans, with student voice, on how we will honour Sam’s memory and celebrate his impact at Victory in the weeks and months to come."

Provision for children of key workers and vulnerable children will take place at Holcombe Grammar School while The Victory Academy is closed tomorrow.

Mr Rooks had previously worked at the Oasis Academy in the Isle of Sheppey having got his PCGE at Canterbury Christ Church university.

On his Linkedin account, he describes himself as "an education enthusiast who champions research and pedagogy" and used his Twitter account to further his own teaching and offer help to others with in the Teach First charity.

Read more: All the latest news from Medway

Read more: All the latest news from Maidstone

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