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Grantham schools pull out all stops to give pupils warm welcome back to class

Schools across Grantham have been pulling out all the stops this week to give their pupils a warm welcome back to the classroom.

From Monday, all pupils were able to head back to the classroom after months of remote learning under the first step to ease Covid-19 restrictions.

The Department for Education is advising secondary school pupils to wear face coverings and they are being asked to take voluntary Covid-19 tests on site and at home, whereas primary school children have not been asked to take tests or wear masks.

Youngsters at Little Gonerby School. (44991944)
Youngsters at Little Gonerby School. (44991944)

Headteachers and school staff have been working tirelessly since the start of the pandemic to keep up with the changing guidance and advice.

Sheridan Edwards, executive headteacher of Denton Primary School and Harlaxton Primary, praised staff and parents for their resilience and said she felt “humbled” by their strength.

She added: “It was joyous to welcome all the children back. I am sure some of the children and parents felt anxious after being at home for so long, but everyone is very pleased to reconnect and catch up with friends in the classroom. “During the pandemic, teaching staff have had to respond quickly to rapid changes, sometimes with no notice at all. I have been humbled by their resolve and tenacity and I do not think there is another profession which has been asked to work so differently, for so long, from their original working practice.

“Although the profession has risen to the challenge, I do hope that we are now entering a period of more stability where we can all concentrate on giving our children the best possible care and education.”

It was celebrations all round when pupils at Little Gonerby Infant School, returned to the classroom on Monday.

Headteacher Helen Hilton said that the focus for the next few weeks will be helping the children to settle in again after a challenging few months.

She said: “There were plenty of happy faces on Monday. The children were so excited to see their friends and it is a joy to hear the sounds of playtime and the buzz of busy classrooms again.

National School welcomed pupils back to school on Monday. (45042289)
National School welcomed pupils back to school on Monday. (45042289)

“Every member of staff has pulled together over the last few months to adapt to new ways of working, balancing in-school provision for around 25 per cent of the school cohort with providing remote learning for the majority.

“They have been incredible in the way they have supported the children, parents and each other throughout this time and I am so proud of our caring team. We are also grateful to all the parents and carers for their support and kind words - they too have done an amazing job.

“We know that this has been an extremely challenging time for many families and that every child will have experienced the last eight weeks differently, and that is why our focus for the next few weeks is primarily on helping the children settle back into routines, socialising and dealing with the emotional impact of lockdown.

“Staff have undertaken training to support all children’s mental health and wellbeing and are ready to provide whatever each child needs. As a community, we will take time to mourn that which has been lost, reflect on our experiences, and then look forward with hope as we combine the best of ‘before’ with all the new ways of working we have developed, and emerge stronger than ever together.”

Over at the National Junior School, pupils were greeted with a large banner and poster as they walked into school on Monday.

Angela Comerford, head of school at the National said: “We were delighted to welcome all the children back.

“We understand that every child’s experience of lock down and the pandemic will be different and we value every child as an individual. We will be following a recovery curriculum daily, focussing on relationships and community, to ensure that the children are ready to learn, safe and happy.

“The children and staff showed gratitude to all our parents and carers, for all the hard work they have done since January in supporting them with remote learning. On Monday afternoon, at home time, the children waved banners and posters. they clapped and cheered and fortunately, the sun shone.

“Peace is one of our Christian values and the peace of a ‘normal’ routine is returning to our whole school community.”

It was a similar story at Harrowby Infant School where pupils are settling into the school routine once again.

Sharon Leeson, head of school, has been amazed at the resilience shown by pupils.

She said: “When we opened the doors on Monday morning the children were lined up with their parents, socially distanced with big smiles on their faces.

“We are all amazed at their resilience to cope with change and any challenges that they have faced. They have soon settled into the school routines.

“This week we have worked on a recovery curriculum which has focused on the children rebuilding relationships and giving the children opportunities to talk about their lockdown experiences.

“Remote learning was certainly a challenge for all but I feel both staff and parents certainly rose to that challenge to ensure the children’s learning continued in lockdown.”

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