HEADTEACHERS have spoken about the difficulties faced with schoolchildren returning to the classroom and how a delay of getting coronavius results has meant students are missing out on learning.

Schools have only been back a week following lockdown and the summer holidays but already pupils have been told to stay at home to isolate after suffering coronavirus symptoms.

Mark Pollard, headteacher from Bishop Perowne CE College, said: “It’s hard work for staff who have to move around all the time but we are trying very hard to support them with everything they need.

“We are also trying hard to identify students who are finding the return to school more difficult than others. There are lots of issues, for example students who have suffered bereavement, families where there are now financial challenges and students who have struggled without the routine of school for so long.”

Mr Pollard added: “We have a number of students off with symptoms (but no confirmed cases) and we understand it is hard for parents (and school staff) to be able to say whether it’s a normal cold or cough or Covid symptoms.

“The biggest problem is parents being able to access tests for symptomatic children/family members. Some just can’t get them and when they are offered them, they have been asked to drive to far flung places – Ebbw Vale and Derby for example – some families have no access to a car.

“Often, when tests have been secured, there is then a delay in getting the results. This means students are missing out on learning when they could be in school and it’s a real shame.”


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Bryony Baynes, headteacher from Kempsey Primary School, said: “We have some children off school awaiting test results for family members.

“The new system of bubbles and keeping children separate places a huge burden on class teachers. They do not get a break.

“I do think education staff (like other front line workers) should be prioritised in terms of getting tests (if needed) and, when it comes, the vaccine.

“It is really hard on the staff and I worry about keeping them safe, and happy and sane. But everyone - parents, children and staff - is so positive, cheerful and enthusiastic.”

She added: “My staff have been utterly brilliant coming back to school; they’ve adapted so well to all the changes and are taking everything in their stride.

“They’ve been absolute superstars. I do worry about them a great deal, both in terms of their health but also in terms of their mental health.

“I think there are challenges ahead, however. The autumn and then the winter will bring challenges and I know it will be difficult to maintain staff morale and continue to ensure their physical and emotional well being when lots of pupils are coming down with “sniffles”, let alone the virus.

“However, I am confident in my staff and in their ability to meet these challenges in the same way they have met the others all through the past 6 months – with resilience, flexibility, enthusiasm and devotion to the children and the school.”

Emily Calvert, head at North Worcester Primary Academy, said: “We are delighted to report that attendance is high across all schools in the trust and parent confidence remains strong.

“Communication has been issued to parents/carers so they understand what happens in the event of a positive COVID-19 test.

“No challenge is insurmountable. At North Worcester, we focus on working together, maintaining a positive attitude in all we do and putting the pupils’ well-being at the heart of our decisions.

“This is not to say that there are no challenges - society is anxious and the next few weeks and months are unknown.

“However, as a result of the meticulous planning we have put into place as a school and as a trust, North Worcester continues to go from strength to strength.”