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3D virtual tours and videos: how schools are welcoming new pupils amid coronavirus

PUBLISHED: 15:12 31 July 2020 | UPDATED: 15:57 03 August 2020

The 3D interactive virtual reality tour at Lakeham Primary one of 18 in Norwich to help new pupils unable to visit due to coronvirus restrictions. Picture: Insight Media

The 3D interactive virtual reality tour at Lakeham Primary one of 18 in Norwich to help new pupils unable to visit due to coronvirus restrictions. Picture: Insight Media

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Hundreds of children starting school for the first time in September are being offered the chance to explore their new classrooms using virtual reality tours.

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

Due to the coronavirus, schools are unable to have extra visitors, which means preschool children not had the usual opportunity to look around their new school surroundings and meet new class teachers

With normal transition sessions postponed, schools have turned to hi-tech methods of welcoming new pupils

MORE: What school will be like for your children in September

Norwich Opportunity Area (NOA) has produced 3D virtual tours of 18 Norwich primary schools.

The tours allow children and parents to explore classrooms and facilities and watch welcome videos from class teachers and headteachers.

Ashley Cater, NOA project manager, said: “So many children have missed out on their normal transition experiences this year, such as having opportunities to visit their new teachers and explore their new classrooms, that they may be feeling more nervous than usual about their move to primary school.

“That is why we have created these tours – to help lower the anxieties and worries of our preschool children and instead create some excitement about September. They really are an invaluable resource.

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

“We also know that, as well as it being an anxiety provoking time for children, a lot of parents with children moving from nursery to a new school, may feel like they are sending their child into the unknown and that can be quite a scary prospect for them too. Therefore we hope these tours will help the whole family know what to expect.”

Lakenham Primary School and Nursery is among those to turn to technology for an innovative way to ensure new and prospective parents and children feel happy, safe and settled.

Headteacher Cassandra Williams said: “The tour has generated a lot of interest and rightly so!”

Othes include West Earlham Infants, Magdalen Gates Primary, Bluebell Primary, Bignold Primary, Chapel Break Infants, Recreation Road Infants, Mile Cross Primary, Tuckswood Academy, Heartsease Primary and Norwich Primary Academy.

MORE: Additional £1.4m for Norwich scheme to help disadvantaged children

The project, in collaboration with Norfolk County Council’s Early Years Team, Family Learning Team and Library Service, has also produced five school readiness activity videos giving parents lots of practical ideas for activities over the summer holidays to help get their child ready for starting school in September.

Ms Cater said: “The NOA is focused on improving outcomes for all children therefore we have tried to make each video really simple and accessible for all parents. Each activity is based on the ‘free and found’ concept, meaning that families don’t need any special resources at home to do these activities. There is something for everyone”

Oliver, Lindsay, Beth, Catherine and Simon in five school readiness videos ofring summer holiday tips on everythinmg from numeracy to literacy. Picture: Norwich Opportunity AreaOliver, Lindsay, Beth, Catherine and Simon in five school readiness videos ofring summer holiday tips on everythinmg from numeracy to literacy. Picture: Norwich Opportunity Area

• Click HERE to see virtual tours of all 18 Norwich schools

• Click HERE to watch the school readiness videos

Teepees and toadstools feature in Tuckswood Academy interactive virtual reality tour for new pupils. Picture: Insight MediaTeepees and toadstools feature in Tuckswood Academy interactive virtual reality tour for new pupils. Picture: Insight Media

Tips for get children ready for starting school

• Talk about what will happen when your child starts their nursery, setting or school as often as you can. Involve your child in getting the things they’ll need, such as clothes and a lunchbox.

• Make it fun and exciting to have a school uniform. Try it on before they start school, but don’t buy it too early, as they may grow by the time they get to wear it!

• Encourage your child to practise getting dressed on their own, putting on their own coat and shoes, and using cutlery at meal times.

• Practice the school run, this can get them excited about starting there and also used to travelling to and from the school.


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