Every Norwich child can explore their new primary school via 3D video tour

Primary pupils in classroom

New pupils at 57 Norwich primary school will be able to get used to classrooms and their new teachers using 3D virtual tours. - Credit: PA

3D virtual reality tours have been produced at every primary school in Norwich to help reception class children explore their new classrooms online. 

Norwich Opportunity Area (NOA) has produced 57 virtual tours and welcome videos for infant school reception classes and junior school Year 3 classes, as well as 21 nurseries, to help children and parents feeling anxious about starting school in September.

The 3D interactive virtual reality tour at Charles Darwin Primary and Nursery

The 3D interactive virtual reality tour at Charles Darwin Primary and Nursery, one of 57 in Norwich to help new new pupils. - Credit: Insight Media

The project builds on the success of tours launched last year when coronavirus restrictions meant preschool children did not have the usual opportunity to visit their new schools

The tours allow children to look around their new school surroundings and include welcome videos featuring class teachers and heads. 

Ashley Cater, Early Years Service project manager. Picture: Norwich Opportunity Area/NCC

Ashley Cater, Early Years Service project manager at Norwich Opportunity Area. - Credit: Norwich Opportunity Area/NCC

The concept was devised by Una Haugh, one of the directors of Norwich-based multi-media company Insight UK, when she was an assistant headteacher. 

“Last year, under the first lockdown, our school was struggling to work out how we could overcome some of the barriers that Covid regulations imposed,” she said.

A classroom at Angel Road Infants School in the interactive virtual reality tour for new pupils.

A classroom at Angel Road Infants School in the interactive virtual reality tour for new pupils. - Credit: Insight Media

“My husband, Mike Harrington, a photographer, had recently started to use a 3D camera to produce virtual tours and we suggested that he produce one of the school so that at least children who were starting in September could virtually explore their new classrooms and meet their teachers via video.” 

Last year’s initial 18 tours proved such a hit that NOA, which runs projects to aid school transition for youngsters, has expanded it to take in a further 39 schools meaning prospective pupils at every primary in the city can benefit. 

A classroom at Edith Cavell Academy in the interactive virtual reality tour for new pupils. Picture:

A classroom at Edith Cavell Academy in the interactive virtual reality tour for new pupils. - Credit: Insight Media

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Rachel Barker, deputy head at Angel Road Infants School, said: “Giving new children and their families the opportunity to come and visit us has always been an important part of our transition work. 

“The virtual tours have proved to be a really useful alternative way of giving everyone the chance to ‘look around’ at a time when physically coming into school has not been possible.”

Eileen Maceachern, special educational needs coordinator at Mile Cross Primary School, said the school had received positive feedback from parents.

“Watching them has alleviated a lot of anxieties around transition and made our children feel not just prepared, but really excited to be starting at our school,” she said.

Teepees and toadstools feature in Tuckswood Academy interactive virtual reality tour for new pupils.

Teepees and toadstools feature in Tuckswood Academy interactive virtual reality tour for new pupils.  - Credit: Archant

Louise Burt, reception teacher at Charles Darwin Primary and Nursery, said: “The children will get to feel like the classroom is theirs before they even step through the door, and it should hopefully alleviate the worries of where the toilet is, or where their coats will be hung up, which are all big thoughts for a four-year-old!”

• Click HERE to see virtual tours of all 57 Norwich schools

• Click HERE to watch welcome videos at 57 Norwich schools

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