Wrexham primary school headteacher welcomes decision for pupils to return full-time in September
The headteacher of a Wrexham primary school has welcomed the news that all children will be able to return in September.
Education Minister Kirsty Williams announced last week that 100 per cent of pupils would be allowed to attend in the autumn, subject to coronavirus cases continuing to drop.
It follows “check in, catch up and prepare” sessions being held for youngsters over the last fortnight.
Richard Hatwood, headteacher at All Saints’ School in Gresford, said the classes had been well received by children and staff.
While the school was originally expecting approximately 78 per cent of pupils to return, the proportion has since grown to nine out of ten.
Mr Hatwood said many parents had been encouraged after seeing the stringent safety measures put in place.
He said: “We’ve ended up having about 90 per cent of the children come back or due to come back over the period which is really good.
“They’ve been in their groups as we planned, using the staggered entrances and exits as we’d organised around the school.
“The teachers have fed back that they’ve been really glad to be back and been getting on with the activities they’ve been doing, enjoying seeing their friends and following the approach around social distancing.
“The feedback from the parents has been very supportive and they’re sad it’s summer now.
“But what it’s done is given us the time to test the logistics of it, including the room capacities, the one way systems and how much hand wash we’re going to need for September.”
He added: “We’ve had parents who have seen how the children have settled in and then they contacted us to ask if there was any chance their children could come back.
“Wherever we’ve been able to accommodate that within our numbers then we have done that.”
Social distancing signs and one-way systems were just some of the sights that met youngsters when they returned to the school at the end of June.
Children have gone back in three day blocks with no more than eight per group.
Although pupils have been unable to meet their teachers for the next school year in person, videos have been made to let them see the face that will greet them in September.
The school has been praised for its approach by parents, with one stating: “After feeling particularly anxious about the return to school for my daughter, we were met with smiles, clear safety measures and a warm welcome.
“The three days flew and it felt well worth it. Consider us caught up, checked in and prepared.”
Mr Hatwood said he was awaiting the full guidance from the Welsh Government before making final plans for the autumn.
He said: “We’ve had the announcement made so we’re waiting for the operational guidance.
“We’re waiting for clarity around nursery children next year and after school and breakfast clubs.
“We’re going to wait for the guidance so we know what the rooms will look like and if we’ve got all the hand washing stations we need in place with more children coming back.
“I think it’s better to delay it a little bit and give parents all the information, rather than give them a little bit of information that gives them more questions.”
By Liam Randall – BBC Local Democracy Reporter
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