Almost all pupils returned to Norfolk's schools this week
- Credit: James Bass Photography
Most children across Norfolk returned to the classroom this week, new figures have shown.
Schools across the county closed to most pupils after prime minister Boris Johnson announced a national lockdown on January 5 following rising coronavirus figures.
Parents throughout Norfolk have been home schooling ever since, but pressure was eased after the government announced pupils in England could return to school on Monday, March 8.
Norfolk County Council revealed that in primary schools across the county this week attendance has been between 96pc and 97pc, which is above average for a normal school day.
The return of pupils has been widely welcomed by headteachers, including Sarah Shirras at St Williams Primary in Thorpe St Andrew, who said: “It has been a sheer delight to see so many children back in school this week.
"The classrooms and playgrounds and buzzing with everyone so excited to see each other and to be back together. Attendance at our school, and in primary schools across Norfolk, has been really high all week.
"We know many children and their families have been desperate for them to return to school, to the learning and laughter it brings. However, others have understandably been nervous too. We want to say a huge thank you to all our families for their support through the last two months and for trusting us on the return to school.”
In secondary schools, regular testing has been introduced for all students to reduce the spread of coronavirus. This has led to some schools staggering the return of pupils throughout the last week, in order to test children at least once before their full time return to school. Overall attendance has therefore increased throughout the week and is expected to reach normal levels next week.
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John Fisher, cabinet member for children’s services, said “I’m sure all children, and parents, will be glad to be back in school, with their friends and learning together once again. It’s been a massive effort from everyone involved to get to this point."‘
Mike Smith-Clare, Labour county councillor, added: "What a fantastic job teachers and teaching staff have done, not just over the last week, but over the past year."