Sat, 12 Sept 2020
IT was a big, warm welcome back to Woolton Hill Junior School on Monday as pupils from all years returned for the first time in six months.
Although some of the current Year 6 spent two weeks back at school in July, most of the pupils haven’t seen the inside of a classroom since March due to the coronavirus lockdown.
The children returned to a ‘new normal’ in staggered arrival times and with new classroom layouts, as all desks must be forward-facing rather than in groups around a table.
Lunch is now brought to their classrooms so the children spend the whole day just with their class, with breaks and lunchtimes again staggered to minimise contact with other classes.
The only time children come into contact with someone from their year group, but not their class, is when they go to the toilet, while there has been a big increase in the amount of hand washing and disinfectant used.
Headteacher Lisa Rees said it had been lovely to have all the children back and that they were adapting well.
She said: “It’s been really lovely.
“I think the children have all settled in really well, they’re all quite chatty – you can tell that they haven’t seen each other for a long time.
“There’s a real buzz in the classrooms.
“The children seem to be more resilient than perhaps we think they could have been – they’re just ready to start and want school to be school.
“The parents are all really happy for the children to be back and the children are happy to be back.
“We have a couple of children who are isolating because they didn’t make it back from holiday from certain countries in time, but we are putting remote learning for them online so those children are able to do what the children in class are doing.”
The children have been eased in back to school life, with a focus this week on personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education.
Mrs Rees continued: “For this week we’re not focusing on academics, maths and English et cetera, we’re doing a PSHE week.
“This means there are lots of circle discussions, talking about feelings and emotions, and we’re doing lots of work with a book called The Colour Monster.
“We’re trying to get the children to talk about their feelings and using colours to do it.
“All our activities are focused around that.”
For Mrs Rees herself, it has been great to have all the children back in school.
She said: “I went out at lunchtime yesterday and I’ve perhaps forgotten how noisy it is, because we’re only used to a smaller number previously, and all the bubbles had to stay separate.
“Now the bubbles are still separate, but there’s 30 children in that bubble.
“Watching them all chat and play outside, it’s really lovely to have them back.”