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Schools turn to virtual reality and video tours for new pupils

PUBLISHED: 14:22 12 June 2020 | UPDATED: 14:59 12 June 2020

A classroom at Lakenham Primary School in the interactive virtual reality tour for new pupils. Picture: Lakenham Primary School/Insight Media

A classroom at Lakenham Primary School in the interactive virtual reality tour for new pupils. Picture: Lakenham Primary School/Insight Media

Lakenham Primary School/Insight Media

Schools are turning to hi-tech methods including virtual reality and video tours to allow children to see their new schools before September.

The interactive virtual reality tour at Lakeham is one pf 19 in Norfolk to help new pupils unable to visit due to coronvirus restrictions. Picture: Lakenham Primary School/Insight MediaThe interactive virtual reality tour at Lakeham is one pf 19 in Norfolk to help new pupils unable to visit due to coronvirus restrictions. Picture: Lakenham Primary School/Insight Media

Due to the coronavirus, schools are unable to have extra visitors, which means that youngsters due to start in September have not been able to go in and have normal transition sessions.

This transition period usually allows children to explore their new classrooms and meet their teachers, which helps to settle any new school nerves.

MORE: “Massive catch-up” promised help pupils over summer as parents face months more homeschooling

Lakenham Primary School and Nursery is among those to turn to technology for an innovative way to ensure new and prospective parents and children feel happy, safe and settled.

Lakenham Primary School headteacher Cassandra Williams and early years leader Danielle Peasgood in the interactive tour. Picture: Lakenham Primary School/Insight MediaLakenham Primary School headteacher Cassandra Williams and early years leader Danielle Peasgood in the interactive tour. Picture: Lakenham Primary School/Insight Media

The school has collaborated with Norwich media company, Insight UK, to use their cutting-edge technology to create a virtual 360 tour of the early years environment.

Working like Google Maps, children and their parents can navigate around the school and click links that explain what happens in different areas.

There are also film clips of headteacher Cassandra Williams and the school’s new early years leader, Danielle Peasgood, embedded into the tour.

A classroom at Lakenham Primary School in the interactive virtual reality tour for new pupils. Picture: Lakenham Primary School/Insight MediaA classroom at Lakenham Primary School in the interactive virtual reality tour for new pupils. Picture: Lakenham Primary School/Insight Media

The tour has been funded by the Norwich Opportunity Area as part of a campaign to support transition in partnership with Norfolk County Council.

The Lakenham virtual tour is the first of 19 that will be released by the Norwich Opportunity Area before the end of the academic year, to support parents and children across Norwich to feel as prepared as possible to start school in September.

Mrs Williams said: “The tour has generated a lot of interest in our Early Years provision and rightly so!”

MORE: Pupils will not visit their new secondary schools before September

Meanwhile Brooke VC Church of England Primary School has filmed its own virtual school tour for both new pupils and children who haven’t been in school since March.

Assistant headteacher Sarah McGowan said: “We wanted the children to be welcome and feel the community of the school.

“We came up with a few ideas and this is the one that worked best when we filmed it and put it together.

Pupils at Brooke school in the tour video for new pupils and those not in school since March. Picture: Brooke VC Church of England Primary SchoolPupils at Brooke school in the tour video for new pupils and those not in school since March. Picture: Brooke VC Church of England Primary School

“It is also for those children who are missing school at the moment. We have also started to do Zoom collective worship assemblies each week. We had almost 100 all join in this week which was really lovely.

“We are trying to keep that sense of community that we are all still together even when we are apart.”


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