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Happy faces as children return to some West Berkshire and North Hampshire schools

Many Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 pupils went back to school on Monday

Jonathan Ashby

Jonathan Ashby

jonathan.ashby@newburynews.co.uk

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Happy faces as kids return to West Berkshire and North Hampshire schools

FOR more than 10 weeks, Welford and Stockcross Primary Schools have been completely shut, with children of key workers heading to either Falkland or Hungerford Primary Schools.

On Monday, many pupils in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 classes returned – with the children now working in bubbles to maintain social distancing.

Executive head teacher of both schools Katie Dickens said things had been really positive since reopening.  

She said: “We’ve tried to keep things focused on safety and emotional, mental and physical wellbeing across the board – not just for the children, but for the staff as well.

“It’s been really positive since the children came back to school.

“We’ve kept everything low-key, keeping them outside a lot and doing the same material that the children who are home learning are doing.

“It’s about everybody buying into it and being on board.

“It’s not school as we know it, but it’s lovely to have people around again.”

It was a similarly encouraging story at John Rankin Primary School where around 65 per cent of Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 students returned on Monday.

Headteacher Felix Rayner said: “The most important thing for us is this school is more than just its buildings, it’s about relationships and about being part of this family.

“It’s been really challenging, but we are very lucky to have a brilliant team.

“Although there are lots of different opinions over whether we should reopen, we pulled together and made it happen.

“I want to stress how professionally challenging it’s been, but people have been wonderful – staff, families, children.

“The children have been amazing since coming back, especially considering some of them have come back to teachers they’ve never seen.”

In North Hampshire, Woolton Hill Junior School has reopened for its Year 6 pupils, with around half returning to class and more expected to return next week.

At the beginning of each day, the students already have everything they need for the day at their desk, with break and lunch times staggered to keep groups distanced from one another.

Headteacher Lisa Rees also said it had been an incredibly positive atmosphere with the children adapting well to social distancing guidelines.

She said: “Parents are noticeably positive and keep thanking us, and the children seem genuinely happy to be here.

“For the staff who are with them, it’s really lovely for them to have their children back.

“It’s quieter, but the children are adapting really well.”

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