High school students hailed for 'resilience' on return to classroom

New head of Pakefield High School Dan Bagshaw with students.

Pakefield High School head Dan Bagshaw (centre) with students. - Credit: Pakefield High School

With schools having reopened following the Christmas holidays, some students have been making staggered returns to the classroom.

As secondary school children took part in on site testing this week after a rise in Omicron cases, leaders at high schools across Lowestoft have praised the "amazing" staff and hailed the "resilience" of youngsters throughout the pandemic.

Pakefield High School.Picture: Nick Butcher

Pakefield High School. - Credit: Nick Butcher

Dan Bagshaw, head of Pakefield High School on London Road, Pakefield, said: "We are staggering our return with lateral flow tests carried out on site as students return.

"We have decided to use these as 'screening tests', with students returning to their timetables following a negative LFT result.

"This for us is not new, and we are used to carrying out these tests now - it's become our 'new normal'.

"While I'd much rather be using our sports hall for table tennis, it's important that we do everything we can to keep students and staff safe as they return to school."

With the latest guidance seeing students - unless exempt - wear face masks in lessons as well as communal areas, Mr Bagshaw said: "We had to do this during the spring term last year, and for me, our young people have shown true resilience through everything this pandemic has thrown at them.

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"This is true of remote learning as well - we do have back up plans in place if we need to return to live, online lessons, but will do everything we can do maintain face to face learning."

With Covid cases at Pakefield "very low" during the autumn term, Mr Bagshaw said: "We have stuck with a form of 'bubble' working since September with each year group allocated classes around school for their core lessons, and this may well have helped keep cases low.

"Our staff are amazing, and have busy days as they move around school so students are still taught all lessons by subject specialists, but student movement around site is limited because of our bubble timetabling. 

"As a school, we've got used to dealing with last minute announcements and are confident that our contingency plans will minimise any disruption to student learning as we move forwards through the Spring term."

East Point Academy, Lowestoft.

East Point Academy, Lowestoft. - Credit: Archant

At East Point Academy, on Kirkley Run, Lowestoft, all students were tested prior to returning to class after all year groups attended allocated times.

An academy spokesman said: "There is no substitute for being in the classroom, and we will do everything we can to ensure pupils continue to have face to face learning.

"Introducing masks is a sensible measure as they make it more likely that pupils’ education will continue disruption-free."

Ormiston Denes Academy in Lowestoft.

Ormiston Denes Academy in Lowestoft. - Credit: Ormiston Denes Academy

Students in the various year groups at Ormiston Denes Academy, on Yarmouth Road, Lowestoft, and Benjamin Britten Academy of Music and Mathematics, on Blyford Road, Lowestoft completed staggered on-site lateral flow tests this week ahead of the start of school term.

The Benjamin Britten Academy of Music and Mathematics logo.

The Benjamin Britten Academy of Music and Mathematics logo. - Credit: Benjamin Britten Academy of Music and Mathematics