Two of our local primary schools, Burbage and Great Bedwyn, have been able to welcome all year groups back to school this week. Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 children in our local primary schools were able to join the children of key workers in school in early June and now primary schools which are fortunate enough to have enough space are fully open for the remaining weeks of the academic year.
Headteacher at Burbage School, Zoe Garbutt, said, “The children are just beaming – it’s the happiest place to be! Although our Home Learning offer was really well-received, we knew our children wanted to be back in school with their friends and teachers.
We are in a really fortunate position to have a spacious building and a big site allowing for lots of outdoor learning and distancing between groups. The children are working in ‘bubbles’ of fifteen. They have been amazing, they have adapted to the new routines brilliantly. Parents are commenting on what a positive effect it has had on the children’s wellbeing.”
Burbage pupils are attending school in the mornings and continuing online learning at home in the afternoons. Online learning is also continuing for those children who are shielding and are still at home. There are also regular virtual class meetings.
Christina Stewart, Burbage parent and Chair of Governors said, “The quality of teaching provided by Burbage during the lockdown has been fantastic but nothing can replace face to face teaching in the classroom.
It’s fantastic to see so many children back at school and the sight of their happy, smiling faces shows just how important being in school is to them. I’m really pleased that the school has been able to adapt to the current restrictions. It’s wonderful that the children have the opportunity to be in school before the start of the summer holidays.”
Great Bedwyn School Principal, Michelle Perrett, said, “It was lovely to invite the remainder of the children back to school this week. Reception, Years 1, 6 and children of key workers have been back on regular days since the beginning of June but this week was the turn of the other year groups.
Although we appreciate how hard everyone has been working at home we felt that all the children deserved some face to face school contact, not just those year groups the government determined. To this end, although unable to offer full hours for everyone, we are pleased to be able to offer all year groups sessions in school. The interaction between staff and children has been beneficial for all.
All children are engaged in some English and Maths activities, but we are placing a greater focus on social and emotional development following the lock down. This is an area that could have the greatest negative long term impact on our pupils’ well-being. To support this area we have engaged pupils in a range of activities including Forest Schools, cycling and physical exercise.
We also welcomed back our PE providers, Premier Sport and Top Squash, who are ready and willing to get the children moving. Both have implemented games and activities that develop the fundamentals of PE but socially distanced.
The staff have worked incredibly hard to establish alternative teaching spaces around the school as we have had to increase the number of classes, ‘bubbles’, from seven to thirteen. They plan for children in school as well as keeping the home schooling going for some. At 2pm everyone works as a team to steam clean or sanitise resources and the school.
The school is once again abuzz with chatter and laughter, and there are smiles from children and staff alike. It is a pleasure to be open more fully again!”
A Great Bedwyn parent commented, “My daughter is absolutely thrilled to be coming into school next week – it’s made her week!”
Another parent said, “It’s amazing that you are being so proactive about getting as many children back as you can. Please know we are extremely grateful.”