Back to School for Vale Academy Trust Pupils

The following was received from the Vale Academy Trust on 11 June 2020 and we’re happy to reproduce it here verbatim.

Following several weeks of being home-schooled following the current Covid-19 lockdown, it has been a happy return to school for many Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 children and staff across the Vale Academy Trust’s primary schools and teachers have been delighted to welcome back their pupils.

Behind the scenes, Heads and their teams, supported by the Trust’s Central Team, have worked hard to make it as safe as possible for everyone returning to school with in-depth Risk Assessments relating to anti-Coronavirus measures.

“With each school being unique as regards their buildings and grounds, it was not a case of ‘one size fits all’, said Richard Evans, the Trust’s CEO. “Each school’s site was carefully assessed so that we could put the maximum social distancing and hygiene measures in place for the safety of children and staff on that site. We are acutely aware of the importance of looking after the wellbeing of everyone.”

Teaching staff have been busy planning within their teams for this partial return to normality whilst keeping learning on track for keyworker children that have continued to attend school despite the lockdown. As the term progresses, it is hoped that more children from other year groups can also return to school. From 15 June the Trust’s secondary schools, Larkmead and King Alfred’s, are opening up for some face to face contact with Year 10 and Year 12.

From day one it was obvious how delighted the children were to be back (their parents too!) with everyone quickly settling into familiar routines.

Schools have received some great feedback.

A Millbrook Primary School parent said: “My son has been at school all the way through and all the staff have been amazing – thank you everyone!”

An appreciative parent at St James CE Primary School wrote to say: “You’re all heroes to us, and even more so at the moment.” Another commented “Thank you to all the staff at St James. It’s been an amazing transition back to school.”

One father with a child at Charlton Primary School stated “We do really appreciate the incredible hard work that is going on behind the scenes to meet the challenge of arranging the return to school in these unprecedented circumstances.“

A parent from Larkmead School in Abingdon with a daughter about to transition to Year 7 wrote “You’ve made the lockdown extremely manageable in hard and testing times. The videos and information that you sent have been extremely helpful.”

A Year 9 Larkmead student summed things up beautifully with the comment “I’ve never been so proud of a community that I’m part of”.

Richard Evans added “Whilst we’d obviously like to get all the children back to school as soon as possible, the unusual circumstances and ever-changing government plans have created uncertainties and frustrations that have tested the resilience and resolve of everyone. However, the strength and positivity of the Trust’s response to the challenges cannot be overestimated.”

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