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‘Excited, but apprehensive’ - Mums on preparing to send children back to school

PUBLISHED: 14:40 02 September 2020 | UPDATED: 14:40 02 September 2020

Children enjoy break time on the first day back to school. Pupils will return in Norfolk on September 7. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Children enjoy break time on the first day back to school. Pupils will return in Norfolk on September 7. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

First-day of the new school term is likely to be like no other this year, with nerves for both parents and children.

The first day of the new school term will see plenty of excitment as well as anxiety as children see some friends for the first time months. Picture: Owen Humphreys/PA WireThe first day of the new school term will see plenty of excitment as well as anxiety as children see some friends for the first time months. Picture: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

New school anxieties are not unusual of course - whether it be young children starting of the first time, pupils progressing to secondary school, or just getting used top new teachers and classrooms.

However with schools introducing strict measures to enable them to welcome back all pupils, many for the first time in six months, there will be extra concerns about what school life will look and feel like.

MORE: Four in 10 Norfolk parents still have back to school worries, survey finds

An EDP/Norwich Evening News survey of more than 650 Norfolk parents found many still very or quite worried about sending their children to school.

Here two Norfolk mums tell us how they and their children are feeling ahead of schools being back on September 7.

North Norfolk mum Donna-Louise Bishop. Picture: Denise BradleyNorth Norfolk mum Donna-Louise Bishop. Picture: Denise Bradley

‘They’re excited, but still apprehensive’

Donna-Louise Bishop, 35, of north Norfolk, is mum to three boys aged three, five, and seven.

Her oldest children have been off school since they were first closed back in March, while her youngest returned to pre-school earlier in August.

Adam Clarke (right), aged seven, with his brothers James (right), five, and Harrison (middle), three. Picture: Bishop FamilyAdam Clarke (right), aged seven, with his brothers James (right), five, and Harrison (middle), three. Picture: Bishop Family

She said: “Although I was nervous sending my youngest back, I can see the impact it has had on him already.

“He’s sleeping better and has been telling me more about what he’s been up to and the people he’s been playing with during his day - this is not something he was doing previously.

“The pre-school takes his temperature before he steps inside the school gate and gets him to wash his hands immediately. He takes it all in his stride without seeming phased at all.”

Miss Bishop said she still has concerns about sending her oldest two back though.

School have been making prepartions for the return of children to classes on the first day back. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA WireSchool have been making prepartions for the return of children to classes on the first day back. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

She added: “I am hoping the school will provide us with a bit more information about what can be expected before they return, although I must say that the teachers and staff have been great to date.

“I do know that the children will be arriving and collected at staggered time slots.

“The boys have concerns about returning too. My eldest is excited to see his friends but they are both still apprehensive about what to expect and still are fearful of catching the virus.

“I am trying to remind them about personal hygiene even more than usual and adhere to the one-metre rule where possible.

Sophie Kendall with her son Alex, four, who is starting school for the first time this September. Picture: Sophie KendallSophie Kendall with her son Alex, four, who is starting school for the first time this September. Picture: Sophie Kendall

“I have also been making sure that they say ‘hello’ to people in our village while out on walks as they were starting to become nervous when they saw others, hiding behind me.

“All we can do is take it one day at a time but I know I will have to dedicate more time to making sure they are doing okay with the ‘new normal’ once they return.”

MORE: ‘Back to school’ campaign launched to encourage children into classrooms



‘I’ll be happy to send my child to school for first time’

Sophie Kendall said as her four-year-old son’s first day at school approaches she feels happy for him to begin what will be an exciting time for him.

“To say life was a challenge when his nursery closed in March is an understatement,” she said.

“It was lovely for me and my husband to be able to spend more time with Alex and Isobel, our nearly two-year-old, during lockdown and we have some wonderful memories from that time.

“But it was difficult balancing work and looking after two excitable children over the three months while the nursery was shut.

“We have been really impressed by how the nursery has kept things clean and safe since it reopened in June.

“I trust staff at my son’s infant school to do all they can to keep the children and staff safe.

She said she recognised no area is risk free, but added: “I understand why people are concerned but I believe children need to be around other children and back in the classroom learning.”


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