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‘Benefits far outweigh risks’ - Parents welcome return of all pupils to primary school

PUBLISHED: 13:13 08 July 2020 | UPDATED: 13:13 08 July 2020

Newton Flotman Primary School headteacher Adam Riley with parents Jessica Bauer (left) and Rachael Graver. Picture: Newman Associates PR

Newton Flotman Primary School headteacher Adam Riley with parents Jessica Bauer (left) and Rachael Graver. Picture: Newman Associates PR

Newman Associates PR

A Norfolk primary school is offering all of its pupils the chance to return to school before the summer break.

New pupils at Newton Flotman Primary School in September 2019. They have had their first school year disrupted but all pupils now have the chance to return to lessons. Picture: Newton Flotman Primary SchoolNew pupils at Newton Flotman Primary School in September 2019. They have had their first school year disrupted but all pupils now have the chance to return to lessons. Picture: Newton Flotman Primary School

Newton Flotman Church of England Primary School is using a rota system coupled with a twice-weekly deep-clean to enable all its 116 pupils to have face-to-face contact with their teachers this term.

Over 80pc of children were expected to attend classes this week being taught in ‘bubbles’ of a maximum of 15 pupils.

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New headteacher Adam Riley, who joined the school at Easter, in the midst of the coronavirus crisis, said that he was determined to bring children back into school for the emotional and social benefits, as well as the educational gain.

The whole school is deep cleaned twice a week and there is a rota system to allow all 116 pupils to return to the classroom. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA WireThe whole school is deep cleaned twice a week and there is a rota system to allow all 116 pupils to return to the classroom. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

“We thought it was really important to offer all pupils the chance to come back into school before the summer holidays,” he said.

“We have enough space at the school, and because we are able to, we want to do it for the community and for the children.

“It’s really important to get them back into school both socially and emotionally, and to give them some grounding and a gradual route back to normality.

“If we didn’t do this, some of the children would have been out of school for six months by the time they came back in September.”

Aside from key workers’ children who are in school every day, pupils at the school attend on a rota basis, with half coming in on Monday and Tuesday, and the other half on Thursday and Friday.

Dropping her two children off at the school gate was Jessica Bauer, whose younger daughter Molly, 6, who is in year one, has been attending the school since it reopened at the beginning of June, whilst Amelia, 7, in year two, returned in mid-June.

“We were confident that the school had taken good health precautions, and there is no doubt that going back to school has had emotional and health benefits for the girls,” she said.

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“Molly was very excited about going back to school and couldn’t wait, and once that happened, Amelia was constantly asking when she could go back. Since they have both been back at school, arguments at home have stopped.”

Rachael Graver, whose daughter Grace, 6, is in year one, added: “I wouldn’t have sent her back if I didn’t think it was safe. I have confidence in the school, and the benefit of her going back to school far outweighs the risks.”

Mr Riley, who has been brought into the school back on an even keel after an ‘inadequate’ Ofsted report earlier this year, added: “Some children have been anxious on returning, but they quickly settle, by the end of their first day back they are happy and relaxed. Children are very resilient, and seem to have taken the disruption in their stride.”


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