How schools had to change ready to welcome back Northamptonshire's kids today

Education trust shares video to reassure parents on first day children begin to return

By Kevin Nicholls
Monday, 1st June 2020, 8:27 am

Schools charity the David Ross Education Trust has shared a video giving an insight what returning to school will be like for Northamptonshire's youngsters today.

Children in early years, reception, year one and year six are allowed to go back to the county's primary schools on Monday (June 1) for the first since March 20.

And the experience is bound to be very different from what they are used to with fewer children kept well apart.

Classrooms are rearranged to keep kids two metres apart. Photos: Getty Images

The video is designed to reassure parents from DRET's dozen primary schools across the county — plus another ten elsewhere in England — by listing measures staff are putting in place to ensure they stick to Government Covid-19 guidelines.

Chief executive Rowena Hackwod said: “We know how important it is to open up our schools back up to as many of our pupils as possible.

"Our staff across the trust have worked so hard to ensure we can bring pupils back into school while keeping them safe.

“I understand that parents will be justifiably cautious about sending their children into school, and I hope that this film reassures them that we are doing everything possible to keep this environment safe.

Basins are blocked off to so children can wash their hands safely. Photo: Getty Images

"The safety of our pupils and our staff is our utmost priority, and every decision taken has had this at its heart.”

The video features a range of line drawings showing school life as it was .. and what life will look like now as well as clear explanations as to what has changed.

Classrooms have been rearranged so pupils and staff are able to stay at least two metres apart with hand sanitiser stations in every classroom. Each school also have the flexibility to adjust timetables as needed, which could include staggering the school day including pick up times, break times and drop-offs.

The video also reiterates that while today is the earliest primary schools can open, this will only happen if the rate of infection is decreasing and school leaders are confident that they can keep their pupils and staff safe. The film ends by promising to send out detailed plans in the near future.

The General Secretary of teachers union National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT), which represents teachers in Northamptonshire has labelled reopening schools "wholly premature".

Dr Roach wrote to all the county's head teachers on Thursday (May 28) to remind them "As the pressure on school leaders continues to mount as a result of the Government’s expectations for the wider opening of schools in June, it may be helpful for headteacher members to note there is no requirement to open your school to more children on 1 June or 15 June."

"The DfE recognises that ultimately, senior leaders of childcare and education settings should May 2020 decide whether they have the staff available to cater for all, or indeed any, of the children and young people we have asked them to invite back"

But DRET's video points out that its schools will only open if leaders are confident that they can keep their pupils and staff safe by keeping the risk of transmission as low as possible.

DRET’s schools across Northamptonshire are Welton Church of England Academy, Newnham Primary School, Falconer’s Hill Academy, Abbey CE Academy, Cedar Road Primary School, Eastfield Academy, Briar Hill Primary School, The Arbours Primary Academy, Kings Heath Primary Academy, Malcom Arnold Preparatory School, Rockingham Primary School and Greenfields Primary School and Nursery.