Schools ponder easing more restrictions after 'optimistic' return success

Aziza Cranmer, principal of St Mary’s Junior School in Long Stratton

Aziza Cranmer, principal of St Mary’s Junior School in Long Stratton. - Credit: St Benet’s MAT

Headteachers have said more school restrictions could be lifted after hailing the successful return of the pupils for the first week of term.

Children returned to classrooms following the summer holidays with most Covid measures having been lifted, with face masks requirements, most rules on social distancing and class bubbles scrapped.

Guidelines give headteachers the flexibility to keep some measures, such as one-way systems, to avoid the mixing of large groups depending on the size and layout of school buildings.

Moira Croskell, executive headteacher of both Dickleburgh Primary Academy and Garboldisham Primary Academy, said they had lifted some Covid measures, though extra hand washing, cleaning and ventilation are all still in place.

She hopes to ease more restrictions, including allowing parents back into school. 

Dickleburgh Pre-School headteacher Moira Croskell and manager Sue Brown with pupils.

Dickleburgh Pre-School headteacher Moira Croskell and manager Sue Brown with pupils. - Credit: St Benet’s MAT

“It was lovely to see all the pupils back, lots of smiling faces and stories to share with each other,” she said.

“We have no more class bubbles or staggered arrivals and dismissal times. The children are playing outside together again and eating in the hall. 

“These are important opportunities for the children to socialise and so far they have coped tremendously well, even our youngest and newest pupils. 

“Going forward, we hope to be able to invite parents back into school for celebration events soon. We are planning to evaluate this half termly.”

Aziza Cranmer, principal of St Marys Church of England Junior Academy in Long Stratton.

Aziza Cranmer, principal of St Marys Church of England Junior Academy in Long Stratton. - Credit: St Benet's MAT

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Aziza Cranmer, principal of St Mary’s Junior School in Long Stratton, said: “Our whole school community is thrilled to be back. 

“We may have created a 'new normal,' but it is one that remains whole, joyful and full of hope, purpose and aspiration.”

Archbishop Sancroft High School students

Students at Archbishop Sancroft High School in Harleston have had two lateral flow Covid tests on-site but no longer have to wear face masks. - Credit: James Bass Photography

Robert Connelly, executive headteacher for the Harleston Federation, which includes Archbishop Sancroft High School and Harleston Primary Academy, said the first week back had been “incredibly positive”.

He said the schools would “proceed with caution” on future measures.

“There has been a real sense of hope and optimism across both schools where we have seen a number of Covid restrictions removed, in line with the government recommendations,” he said.

Robert Connelly, executive headteacher of Harleston Federation.

Robert Connelly, executive headteacher of Harleston Federation. - Credit: St Benet's MAT

“Throughout the summer, we spent significant time in both schools planning and ensuring that appropriate risk assessments and contingency plans are in place to ensure all members of the community remain safe and are able to access an excellent education throughout the academic year.”

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