Campaign reassures anxious parents and pupils ahead of return to school
- 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.
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.
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.
“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, 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.”
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