Primary school, secondary school and college students return to face-to-face learning from today (Monday 8 March), one of the first steps to easing Covid-19 restrictions and the start of the roadmap back to normal.
The council is delighted to welcome back all students as we recognise how important attending school and college is for our children and young people’s educational and social development, as well as their mental health and wellbeing. Our priority is for a permanent return to face-to-face education.
Many parents and carers may be anxious about the return to school. We would like to reassure them that we have been working closely with school leaders to ensure a safe return and we have produced local support that both complements the government’s guidance and helps schools enhance their safety measures inside and outside the classroom.
Additional measures in place this spring include regular testing of secondary school and college students to help identify asymptomatic cases, prompting them to isolate and help stop the spread. We are also asking families and households (including childcare and support bubbles) with primary, secondary and college age children to take part in regular testing. Details of how families and households should access tests are available on our website www.southglos.gov.uk/return-to-school
Please note primary school children are not being asked to take regular tests and should only be tested for Covid-19 if they have symptoms.
As well as offering regular testing, schools will also have one-way systems, social distancing, staggered start and finish times and increased cleaning and ventilation in place.
We have produced a series of videos to help families understand the return to school and changes which have been introduced since schools were fully open before Christmas.
• Watch a local primary head teacher guide you around their school to explain the extra measures in place and help prepare you and your child. Visit: Covid-19: Blackhorse Primary School tour – YouTube
• Hear from teachers and a parent about how they are feeling about the return to school, to reassure you if you or your child feels anxious. Visit: Covid-19: Raysfield Primary tour – YouTube
• See what taking a Covid-19 test at your secondary school or college is like. Visit: Covid-19: Brimsham Green School tour – YouTube
We would like to say thank you to all the schools, staff, parents and students who took part in these videos to reassure and inform others.
Our ground-breaking ‘Learning Recovery’ means that students will be uniquely well equipped to rapidly bounce back from this past year’s disruption. While initially developed to mitigate the loss of learning locally, the learning recovery has since been widely embraced by schools throughout South Gloucestershire and beyond. Since June 2020 we have written and distributed a vast range of resources to support schools, staff and students. In last month’s budget, we announced a further £1.2 million investment for the launch of phase two of the learning recovery approach to help further accelerate improvements in our students’ outcomes.
Cllr Erica Williams, Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Employment, said: “I would like to thank all our teaching and support staff, parents and carers and of course children and young people themselves for their hard work and sacrifices over the past year.
“They have all gone to amazing lengths to continue teaching, supporting and learning during lockdown. This has been a challenging time for everyone involved, but you have all stepped up to make it happen and for that we all thank you.
“We want everyone to feel confident in the measures schools and colleges have in place to keep everyone safe which mean our children and young people can return to face-to-face learning and continue their educational development.”
Watch a ‘welcome back and thank you’ message from Cllr Erica Williams
Thank you to all our teaching staff, students, parents and carers – YouTube.
For further information on the measures in place and resources to support parents and carers please visit www.southglos.gov.uk/return-to-school