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Pupils in ‘pods’ at school that reopens on June 1

PUBLISHED: 12:33 26 May 2020 | UPDATED: 12:33 26 May 2020

Michael Brewer headteacher at Thetford Grammar School. Photo: Thetford Grammar School

Michael Brewer headteacher at Thetford Grammar School. Photo: Thetford Grammar School

Thetford Grammar School

A town’s headteacher has revealed how his student’s lives are set to change, as the school prepares to reopen for its youngest years on June 1.

Michael Brewer, headteacher at Thetford Grammar School. Picture: Thetford Grammar SchoolMichael Brewer, headteacher at Thetford Grammar School. Picture: Thetford Grammar School

Michael Brewer, headteacher at Thetford Grammar School, which educates children from three- to 19-years-old, said staff and teachers had been “planning furiously” for the return of its nursery, reception, year one and year six pupils from next week.

Despite many parents deciding that now is not the right time to send their children back to education, Mr Brewer said many had said they were grateful to have been given the choice.

And with 40pc of eligible pupils set to come back they can expect to see many changes, but Mr Brewer assured parents that the staff would do all they could to keep the town’s youngsters safe.

Mr Brewer said: “We have made two commitments to parents: one, we will act only in ways which keep the school and community safe; and two, we won’t leave any pupil’s education behind.

Thetford Grammar School is to reopen for its younger years on June 1. Photo: Thetford Grammar SchoolThetford Grammar School is to reopen for its younger years on June 1. Photo: Thetford Grammar School

“We have had to think very carefully about how we scale this so it can be done safely.

“Our younger year groups will be in a pod and will stay together, play together and they will have a limited number of teachers assigned to them - who won’t be assigned anywhere else.”

He added: “For our older pupils it will be easier socially distancing. We will keep them in a pod, with a limit number of teachers as well.

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“We have designated different entrances and walking routes, classrooms have been set up with appropriate distancing in between desks, siblings will be allowed to sit together but otherwise pupils sit separately.

“And to the best of our powers, we are going to attempt to help very young children to understand what this all means.”

For the school’s older students, they will continue to follow their set curriculum from home, which Mr Brewer said had not always been easy but seemed to be working.

But right now, their main concern is making sure their youngest year groups are supported as they will be the first to return.

Mr Brewer added: “It’s a hard concept because for them being in school is a social experience and we teach sharing, so teaching them not sharing is tricky, but we have made up friendly packages of equipment they need.

“Pupils coming back early will have a more difficult time and when schools nationally resume we will have to take time taking care of our young people.

“This is not what their lives are supposed to look like.”


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