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‘The time is right’ - Head teachers ‘ready and confident’ about full school re-opening

PUBLISHED: 13:00 03 September 2020 | UPDATED: 13:00 03 September 2020

Staff members at Novaturient School celebrate their good Ofsted rating last year. Picture: Novaturient School

Staff members at Novaturient School celebrate their good Ofsted rating last year. Picture: Novaturient School

Archant

Great Yarmouth’s head teachers feel “ready and confident” to welcome back entire classrooms of students for the first time since March - despite fears raised by nervous parents.

Great Yarmouth Charter Academy students at GCSE results day. Picture: Jamie HoneywoodGreat Yarmouth Charter Academy students at GCSE results day. Picture: Jamie Honeywood

The Inspiration Trust academies were among the first to bring all their pupils back to school on Thursday September 3 - with teachers having undergone training to ensure they feel “safe and reassured”.

The academy chain, which runs Cobholm, Great Yarmouth and Stradbroke Primary Academies, as well as Great Yarmouth Charter Academy, said: “Each school has a tailored plan to suit their site and space.

“This includes new handwashing and sanitising stations, students staying in groups and bubbles and different entrances and exits for those bubbles.”

And even though many teachers have criticised the government for policy ‘U-turns’ - such as the need for pupils to wear masks in schools - the Trust said this had not caused difficulty in devising arrangements.

“During our planning sessions, we considered all possibilities and tried to prepare for all scenarios,” a spokesperson said.

At Peterhouse, Moorlands and Hopton Church of England Primary Academies, run by the Diocese of Norwich Education and Academies Trust, pupils will be returning to school on Monday.

CEO Oliver Burwood said: “
The time is right for all children to be back in school.

“We have class bubbles, staggered start times, provision of additional hand sanitiser and PPE.

“We have detailed plans in place in the eventuality that any pupil or staff member contract Covid.

“Each of our 34 academies has planned an exciting curriculum for the first term back, so each child can make a successful start to this unusual academic year.”

Sally Alden, headteacher at Novaturient secondary school on Euston Road, said she too felt “ready and confident” about the start of the new term.

Great Yarmouth Primary Academy, part of the Inspiration Trust academy chain. Picture: Angela Sharpe PhotographyGreat Yarmouth Primary Academy, part of the Inspiration Trust academy chain. Picture: Angela Sharpe Photography

She said: “As a special school catering for vulnerable children, we never really locked down. We had 96pc attendance all the way from March to July.

“Coronavirus has put new pressures on staff, but actually, not that much has changed from how we usually do things.

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“We’ve always had fixed classrooms with our teachers moving around. Students have always had those safe spaces and ‘bubbles’ of other students they interact with.

Great Yarmouth Charter Academy is one of the Inspiration Trust academies returning to school today, September 3. Picture: David HannantGreat Yarmouth Charter Academy is one of the Inspiration Trust academies returning to school today, September 3. Picture: David Hannant

“We have an advantage in many ways because we are a small school with class sizes of four people.

“But we will also have staggered start times, antibacterial gel on desks and a 2m distancing policy where possible.

“It’s weird, because it feels like other schools are copying our approach for a change.”


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