Search

‘I’m confident they’re doing everything right’: parents drop children off at school

PUBLISHED: 12:47 01 June 2020 | UPDATED: 12:47 01 June 2020

Parents drop off children at Queen's Hill Primary School, Costessey, as pupils in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6, begin to return to school as part of a wider easing of lockdown measures. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Parents drop off children at Queen's Hill Primary School, Costessey, as pupils in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6, begin to return to school as part of a wider easing of lockdown measures. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

It is not quite school as they know it, but children are returning to the classroom - and parents dropping them off after 10 weeks of homeschooling said they were anxious but felt it was right.

Parents drop off children at Queen's Hill Primary School, Costessey, as pupils in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6, begin to return to school as part of a wider easing of lockdown measures. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA WireParents drop off children at Queen's Hill Primary School, Costessey, as pupils in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6, begin to return to school as part of a wider easing of lockdown measures. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Queen’s Hill Primary and Nursery School at Costessey was among the almost half of Norfolk schools that reopened, welcoming back reception children on Monday, with 46 attending out of a total of 75 in the year group.

The school has been open to children of key workers throughout the coronavirus lockdown, with plans to reopen to nursery children next week and to children in years one and six from June 15.

Jo Frost, 37, who was dropping off her five-year-old son Max, said: “It’s obviously a difficult decision but you’ve got to weigh up everything in life.

Lessons with reduced class sizes at Queen's Hill Primary School, Costessey, as pupils in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6, begin to return to school as part of a wider easing of lockdown measures. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA WireLessons with reduced class sizes at Queen's Hill Primary School, Costessey, as pupils in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6, begin to return to school as part of a wider easing of lockdown measures. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

“You can’t just shut yourself away and wrap yourself up in cotton wool. You could just walk out the door and anything could happen.

“The school have really thought about it. They’ve sent out lots of letters, pictures and given us all the information we need. I feel confident that they’re doing everything right.

“They’ve put everything in place, they’ve put a lot of thought into everything. I’m really happy with it.

Queen's Hill Primary School pupil Grace reacts as she arrives at the school gate in Costessey as pupils in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6, begin to return to school as part of a wider easing of lockdown measures in England. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA WireQueen's Hill Primary School pupil Grace reacts as she arrives at the school gate in Costessey as pupils in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6, begin to return to school as part of a wider easing of lockdown measures in England. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

“We were quite relieved, to be honest, as it’s quite a long time that he’s been off and at his age it’s really important to be with his peers. I’m more than happy for him to come in.”

MORE: Less than half of Norfolk schools reopen to returning pupils

Emma Corps, 39, was in a socially-distanced queue of parents as she dropped off her five-year-old daughter Isla at the school gates.

“I was a bit anxious but she was excited and I think they need to go back to school as there needs to be some sort of normality back in their lives,” she said.

Reception pupil Braydon washes his hands whilst watching an electronic timer at Queen's Hill Primary School, Costessey. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA WireReception pupil Braydon washes his hands whilst watching an electronic timer at Queen's Hill Primary School, Costessey. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

“For the 10 weeks she was saying ‘when am I going back, when am I going back?’ then at 6.30am this morning it was ‘mummy, quick’.”

Headteacher Penny Sheppard said she had spoken to parents throughout lockdown.

“I know there are some who are very anxious about sending their child back,” she said. “There are some who are very eager to have their child back.

“There are some whose children have been so upset that they can’t come anywhere near the school because they’ve been seeing the childcare children (of key workers) playing outside. Actually some of the children have been crying because they want to be part of that.

“There are a variety of feelings out there and it’s our job just to reassure as best we can and I’m very honest with the parents.”

MORE: Teachers and parents hold protest against school reopenings

The school is one of many in Norfolk taking a phased approach to its return to classes.

Penny Sheppard, headteacher at Queens Hill Primary and Nursery in Costessey. Picture: Bill SmithPenny Sheppard, headteacher at Queens Hill Primary and Nursery in Costessey. Picture: Bill Smith

“I’d already put in a plan that we would start with our reception children, as we’ve got 15 of those who were already using our childcare facilities (for children of key workers),” she said.

“We started with reception, our plan was for nursery next week and then year one and year six on June 15.”

Like every school Queen’s Hill had to fill out a 21-page risk assessment and the guidance on how children should be taught in small groups or ‘pods’ with the same adult and kept apart from other groups.

Parents drop off pupils at Queen's Hill Primary School in Costessey as pupils in reception, year one and six begin to return to school on June 1. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA WireParents drop off pupils at Queen's Hill Primary School in Costessey as pupils in reception, year one and six begin to return to school on June 1. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

“We’ve been open throughout this and I’ve had 60 children (of key workers) in childcare so I know that the systems I’ve put in place are workable: I’ve been keeping them in their separate ‘pods’,” she said.

“I knew it was just an extension of that.”

She added: “Parents know what their children are like and they’ve been very understanding. We are teaching the children constantly about washing their hands -hygiene is really important for us.

“As long as we’ve got all those things in place I think that’s the most important thing.”

A social distancing sign on the wall at Queen's Hill Primary School, Costessey. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA WireA social distancing sign on the wall at Queen's Hill Primary School, Costessey. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

A pupil opens a pencil case during a lesson at Queen's Hill Primary School, Costessey, as pupils in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6, begin to return to schools as part of a wider easing of lockdown measures in England. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA WireA pupil opens a pencil case during a lesson at Queen's Hill Primary School, Costessey, as pupils in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6, begin to return to schools as part of a wider easing of lockdown measures in England. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Parents drop off pupils at Queen's Hill Primary School, Costessey, Norfolk, as pupils in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6, begin to return to schools as part of a wider easing of lockdown measures in England. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA WireParents drop off pupils at Queen's Hill Primary School, Costessey, Norfolk, as pupils in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6, begin to return to schools as part of a wider easing of lockdown measures in England. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Eastern Daily Press. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Eastern Daily Press