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Dinners will take three-and-a-half hours, says head

PUBLISHED: 06:53 05 September 2020 | UPDATED: 16:07 05 September 2020

Hillcrest Primary School headteacher Matthew Try. Picture: Ian Burt

Hillcrest Primary School headteacher Matthew Try. Picture: Ian Burt

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A Norfolk headteacher has revealed the plans in place for the “unusual return” of pupils and staff – including school dinner service that will take three-and-a-half hours.

Social distancing and one way measures are in place around the school. Picture: Matthew TrySocial distancing and one way measures are in place around the school. Picture: Matthew Try

During the summer break, adaptations were put in place at Hillcrest Primary School in Downham Market to ensure the safety of staff and children 
ahead of their return on Monday.

A roll-up professional tap dance surface was bought to increase the amount of space available to serve hot dinners and other measures include one-way systems, staggered start and finish times for each class, staggered breaks and lunches and an increase in hand hygiene.

Dinners will also be served behind newly-installed perspex sheets.

Headteacher Matthew Try said: “Even with two hall spaces now available for lunch, it will still take three-and-a-half hours to get all of the children through the dinner hall because of the stagger.”

Social distancing and one way measures are in place around the school. Picture: Matthew TrySocial distancing and one way measures are in place around the school. Picture: Matthew Try

Autumn term activities involving parents have been postponed and parents evening and Christmas productions have been removed from the calendar of events.

School trips and after-school clubs have also been put on hold until later in the year.

Mr Try said the changes were an indicator as to how unusual some of school life would be.

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Staff are also working hard on “refining” remote learning in case classes have to go into isolation or the school closed.

Despite this, he said there was a “buoyant mood” among teachers and teaching assistants who were excited to get the learning moving again and see the children.

He said: “We are hoping for the best and I wouldn’t say expecting the worst, but we are certainly preparing for times getting tougher this autumn.

“Whilst we may keep away from Covid, the autumn term often brings a raft of other illnesses whose symptoms can mimic those of coronavirus.

“These all have the potential to disrupt the normal flow much more this year than in normal years because of everyone’s heightened concerns.

“It will be a roller-coaster of a term but we are more than ready for the challenge and looking forward to seeing the children.”


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