Return to School
Feelings of excitement and anticipation were expressed by everyone across The Corinium Education Trust as our schools prepared to re-open their doors to all pupils from Monday 8 March 2021.
For children across our primary schools the return to school was straightforward. However, owing to the COVID testing regime in secondary schools, Cirencester Deer Park School’s pupils had a phased return. This enabled them to continue to work independently in response to learning activities assigned by their class teachers in Show My Homework and have their first COVID tests. Pupils in Years 10 and 11 returned to full time face-to-face lessons on Tuesday 9 March, Years 8 and 9 did the same on Wednesday 10 March and Year 7 on Thursday 11 March. In line with the guidance, pupils and staff now wear face coverings in all indoor spaces, including classrooms, and teachers commend pupils on their compliance with the school’s system of controls and their readiness and enthusiasm for learning.
'I am extremely grateful to all members of staff for their resilience and determination during the period of lockdown. I appreciate the return to school for many is also as big a step for them as it is for our pupils. Many were working remotely and, at Deer Park, teachers taught over 4,000 lessons in MS Teams. On our in-service training day on Friday 5 March, while impressed by pupils’ engagement online, teachers said they were looking forward to face-to-face teaching again. It has been a privileged to welcome everyone back to school.’ Chiquita Henson, Headteacher, Cirencester Deer Park School and CEO, The Corinium Education Trust
Pupils and staff at Chesterton Primary School also achieved a relatively smooth transition. This was due in part to the fact that 50% of pupils had been attending the in-school provision throughout lockdown and were already familiar with the school’s expectations, and a new training programme for teachers which started in February and focuses fundamentally on recovery and acceleration in phonics, reading, writing and maths.
'It has been wonderful to have all the children back in school. They have transitioned and adapted amazingly well, with everyone excited to return to the classroom to see their friends and build on their learning. The team at Chesterton are focused on addressing the academic gaps in phonics, reading, writing and maths alongside the emotional and social support that is needed due to the impact of the most recent lockdown.' Kerry Buckland, Deputy Head, Chesterton Primary School
Katie Cook, Headteacher, and her staff team at Siddington C of E Primary School shared the feeling of excitement as the children returned to school. She conveyed her early impressions, ‘The children are pleased to be back with their friends, and staff are relieved to have them all back in the classroom.’
During the lockdown, staff and the school’s PTA had made a few changes: the children returned to a new library and they have already started to plant trees and hedges to start the school’s next project – the creation of a reflection garden. When asked what was the best thing about being back at school, a child in the Reception class answered, ‘Just being back at school is the best thing.’
‘This term at Siddington C of E Primary School, pupils will focus on building on what they have learnt through lockdown, and staff will continue to focus on the pupils’ well-being by ensuring they learn as much as they can outside!’ Katie Cook, Headteacher.
At Kemble Primary School, Headteacher, Emma Morrogh-Ryan and her staff team are so pleased to have full classes again. She said, ‘To hear the buzz around the school of excited children and adults is a joy.’
During the first week back, as well as re-focusing their energy on learning, teachers have reminded their pupils about the routines of school and the golden rules to keep COVID-safe as well as talking to them about their lockdown experiences and what they can do if they feel anxious.
‘It always amazes us how resilient our children are and how they support one another if someone wobbles,’ reflected Emma Morrogh-Ryan. ‘The sense of Kemble family is highlighted in times like these and we can now join together to look forward to a return to ’normality’.’