North West Academies Trust schools have activated a plan to get ALL primary school children back in the classroom before the summer holidays.
Whilst most schools have opened to just Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 pupils, teachers at the NWAT schools across Cheshire and Shropshire feared that such a long time away from lessons would be detrimental to their welfare.
Now a pop-up school has been set up at Chester’s St Martin’s Academy to allow all children to return full time, while a staggered timetable has been introduced at Ellesmere Primary School, Shropshire, and Cheshire schools; Weaverham Primary Academy, Grosvenor Park Academy, Delamere CofE Academy and Acresfield Primary School.
Steve Docking, CEO of Chester-based (NWAT), says it took many hours of planning to make it possible.
He said: “All the Heads were agreed that it was vital to press ahead and open to all our primary children from June 1st.
“Of course, we had nerves about opening, but seeing the children go home with big smiles on their faces confirmed that it was absolutely the right thing to do.
“We have put a huge amount of effort into home schooling and staying in contact with all our children, but it is not the same as seeing them, listening to them and knowing that they are getting the support they need.
“Whilst I understand anxieties around safety, we have to put the wellbeing of children at the forefront of our decisions.”
Stuart Roberts, Head at Ellesmere Primary School, said: ““Despite the restrictions, the children have had a brilliant experience.
“They have spent more time outside, making good use of our two ‘forest school’ areas, our outside classroom and large school fields.
“In total, around 300 of our children have been able to safely return to school for at least a week.
“This will certainly ease a lot of the anxiety about returning after the summer holidays and will help with what is a very unique transition to their new class and teacher.”