All pupils at St Margaret’s Preparatory School will be back in the classroom by Thursday (25 June) after bubbles were set up to keep everyone safe.
Children in Reception, Years 1 and 6 returned to at the beginning of the month, then on Monday they were joined by Years 5 and 4 and on Thursday by Years 3 and 2.
Headteacher Luke Bromwich said a huge amount of organisation had gone into refiguring classrooms, outdoor space and dining areas to abide by Government guidelines.
“We know we are very fortunate to have the staffing capacity, a large amount of space and smaller class sizes which enable us to do this,” said Luke. “I completely understand that we do not face the same challenges as some other primary schools without so much space.
“The key to it for us has been creating bubbles with 15 pupils in each so that the children within a bubble are like a family and go everywhere and do everything together in the classroom, in the playground and at lunch. Distancing with the very young children is a challenge but having the bubbles makes it easier. Distancing is an aspiration not an expectation.
“We have created separate toilets for each age group and we have brought in a Portacabin to provide extra ones. We know that having a proper lunchtime meal is an important part of school life and so we are continuing to provide this for our children who sit together in their bubbles.”
Luke added that when children first returned, some of the younger ones in particular were anxious but most were soon reassured and all were delighted to see their friends again. “Within a couple of days, the Year 6 children in particular were all taking the new normal in their stride.”
Sport provision is a priority for St Margaret’s and all children are receiving timetabled lessons. The focus has changed as team games are not allowed but athletics is underway and internet challenges such as tennis ball ‘keepie uppies’ against other schools have replaced traditional sporting fixtures.
“We are confident we can, and will, provide a phased return that allows all of our pupils to learn, socialise and spend the remaining few weeks of the summer term together once more,” said Luke. “We understand pupils will need some time to readjust and our tone will be one of reassurance and support.”
Mr Bromwich plans to spend the school summer holidays preparing for September when he hopes it will be possible to reintroduce clubs, specialist teaching and use of the sports hall.
He praised parents and teachers for their support with helping with home learning and pupils for adapting. “I am very pleased we will all be seeing out the year together after a very turbulent time.”