Pupils hailed as ‘superheroes’ after first week back in the classroom
PUBLISHED: 15:58 05 June 2020 | UPDATED: 15:58 05 June 2020
Headteachers and principals have praised staff, families and pupils as children returned to the classroom across the region this week.
After 10 weeks of learning at home it was time for new routines in the classroom as primary school children from Norfolk and Waveney adapted to changes.
With almost half of Norfolk’s primary schools reopening on Monday, June 1 a phased return has seen pupils in reception, year one and year six and some nursery classes resuming sessions.
This is expected to increase to around 90pc by next week at schools in Norfolk.
One way systems, social distancing and staggered times at the start and end of the day are among a raft of changes to the normal school day, with children grouped into ‘bubbles’ for separate classes as they sit at separate desks.
School leaders expressed pride as they hailed the children for adapting to these changes, and the “very supportive” parents for their backing, as communities rally together to adhere to the government guidelines.
At the end of the first week back, a special visitor surprised pupils at The Howard Junior School.
Gregory Hill, executive headteacher of the King’s Lynn school, said: “We had The Hulk in today (Friday) to say thank you to pupils for being superheroes coming back to school, from a superhero!
“Everything has gone to plan.
“Our staff, parents and pupils have fully participated in all our safety measures - hand washing stations and routines, temperature checks, social distancing – we’ve settled in everyone so well and made having fun a priority.
“We’re also ensuring our year six pupils are ready for secondary school. Our e-learning has been excellent being Norfolk’s only fully digital school already, so our pupils haven’t got behind in their learning.”
There was a warm “welcome back” message extended to pupils at Poplars Primary School in Lowestoft, as a “good uptake” of children returned on Monday.
Facilities management company Vertas, which assisted with two metre social distancing lines being installed around the school, surprised children by painting a rainbow and “welcome back” message on the playing field.
Headteacher Ali England said: “It has been a really positive start this week.
“Children have been following the new routines really well and the children were absolutely delighted to see the rainbow out on the field on the first morning.”
Principal of Norwich Primary Academy, Rebecca Handley Kirk, said: “It has been lovely to see our children again – there’s been lots of smiling faces from everyone.
“We’ve missed seeing our families and pupils.
“The school day has changed and we’ve been there to guide our children every step of the way.
“I’m proud of how adaptable they’ve been.”
Similar sentiments were shared by the principal of Charles Darwin Primary and Nursery School in Norwich, on Prince of Wales Road.
Jo Brown said: “We’ve been pleased to see smiling faces returning to school again.
“The school day is different, we’ve had to make changes to keep children as safe as possible, but the children have been quick to pick up the new rules.
“I’m proud of how well everyone is doing.
“We’re happy to be beginning to bring our school community back together.”
Woods Loke Primary School, on Butley Drive in Oulton Broad, welcomed nursery, reception, year one and year six children back alongside the children of key workers on Monday, June 1.
Headteacher of the primary school Joel Crawley said: “I am very, very pleased we managed to open on the date that the government advised.
“It was a matter of pride that we were able to do that.
“It has been great to see the smiling faces and everything so far has gone very smoothly.
“The parents have been very supportive and our staff worked incredibly hard to get the school ready.
“While we have been open throughout to 20 or so children of key workers, our teachers came in over half term to prepare the classrooms and that is a credit to them.
“The children are getting used to it.
“They have taken on board the new rules and they understand the routines as we try and make it as normal as we can for them.
“We could have had around 200 children out of all these year groups, and we have between 70 and 80 pupils here – around a third of the children have come back.”
A recent EDP survey of 700 parents found that 61pc would not be sending their children back to school, 29pc said they would, while 10pc were undecided.
As the government has said that secondary school students sitting exams next year - year 10 and year 12 students - are on track to start receiving face-to-face support from their school from Monday, June 15, the principal of Jane Austen College, David Thomas, said: “Parents and the kids have been great throughout.
“We’ve been very impressed with the way everyone has adapted to all this – and I could not speak more highly of the staff, who have been superb.
“It was always going to be difficult to adapt to studying at home, especially for those who are more vulnerable, so we’ve given out around 300 laptops and some Internet dongles which hopefully will have helped.
“We’ve seen a slight uptick in attendance and we’re looking forward to welcoming years 10 and 12 back from June 15.”
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