Campaign reassures anxious parents and pupils ahead of return to school

Covid measures at school

Social distancing rules, "bubble" groups and staggered starts have been axed as schools return in September. - Credit: PA

A campaign has been launched to reassure parents and pupils that it is safe to return to school.

Norfolk’s 422 schools are maintaining “proportionate protective measures” to help keep children and staff safe as pupils return to lessons from September 6. 

However, distancing rules, "bubble" groups and staggered starts have been axed, while science experiments, sport, music and drama are back on the timetable.

Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, has said the decis

Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, has said the decision to allow mock exam results for A-level students is "bewildering". Picture: PHIL MORELY - Credit: Archant

Former local head Geoff Barton, who is now general secretary of the ASCL headteacher union, said: “Schools and colleges are hoping for the best over the course of the next term and beyond but there is clearly still a lot of uncertainty about the possible impact of Covid transmission among pupils who are largely unvaccinated.

“Government guidance is very different from the last academic year and the control measures are less stringent.”


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In a recognition that some parents remain anxious, the back-to-school campaign features adverts and leaflets with pupils talking about everything they are looking forward to during the new school term.

Secondary school students are taking Coronavirus lateral flow tests. 

Secondary school students are taking two on-site coronavirus tests.  - Credit: PA

It also features Matt Richards, Olympic gold medal-winning swimmer, who draws on his own experience of regular Covid testing as part of Team GB to encourage students to continue testing from September.

Secondary schools and colleges are offering two tests on-site at the start of term, followed by continued regular testing at home. 

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Education secretary Gavin Williamson said the return to school and college was a "huge moment".

“It is the point when our focus can shift away from the disruption of Covid and on to learning, enrichment and recovery,” he said.

School Covid measures

Schools will use ventilation measures, such as opening windows, and extra hygiene precautions. - Credit: PA

“I have every confidence that school and college staff, parents and students will continue to work together admirably, following pragmatic measures like testing and vaccinations to minimise disruption and keep children where they belong – in the classroom.”

The government has introduced new advice on how schools deal with Covid outbreaks in a bid to reduce the number of students and staff having to isolate minimising disruption to face-to-face education.

Jonathan Rockey, principal at Wymondham High Academy, says the school's classrooms are "well heated"

Jonathan Rockey, principal at Wymondham High Academy. - Credit: Archant

Jonathan Rockey, principal at Wymondham High Academy, said: “Whilst risk assessments have been revised to reflect the changing expectations, we will still very much have risk planning in place, but we do not anticipate that this will substantially or indefinitely impact on us in terms of lost learning time.”

Parents: tell us what YOU think about the start of the new school year

Take part in our survey. We are interested in how confident you feel about the new measures, what your concerns are and what you think of testing and vaccination of young people.

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