Joy at new school

NEW term, new school, new pupils, new uniform.Everything was sparkling as pupils arrived at Suffolk's newest school today.However at some schools staff were left unable to teach due to a backlog of checks on their past.

NEW term, new school, new pupils, new uniform.

Everything was sparkling as pupils arrived at Suffolk's newest school today.

However at some schools staff were left unable to teach due to a backlog of checks on their past.

But their were celebrations at Piper's Vale primary replaces Orwell Junior and Raeburn infants in the Greenwich area of Ipswich.

And for everyone connected with the school, today was most exciting day of the year.

Most were looking forward to the new adventure.

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"It's great. We couldn't wait to get here," said 10-year-old Charles Thorpe from Clapgate Lane who was waiting for the school whistle with eight-year-old sister Lorraine and mum Debbie.

"They've been very excited, and we've got all the new uniform," said Mrs Thorpe.

For some the start at a new school was very daunting. Five-year-old Jayde Gould fought back the tears as mum Tracy kissed her goodbye.

"She has been looking forward to coming here, but last night the nerves took hold and she was crying about it, but she'll be fine," said Mrs Gould.

Headteacher Sue Lines and her staff were on duty in the playground to show their young charges around the school.

But some couldn't resist a look back. "It's all right, but I miss Raeburn infants," said seven-year-old Dean Summers as he ran off into school.

Elsewhere teachers at some Suffolk schools were left sitting in staff rooms today as the Criminal Records Bureau continues to plough through its backlog of checks.

However new guidance from the government means the county will have almost a full complement of teaching staff in the classroom when term starts.

Now anyone who has already been checked in the past, like newly-qualified teachers, and those moving between education authorities who have been recently checked through the previous checking system, will be able to work in schools whilst their CRB check is updated.

Suffolk still has 534 outstanding checks on members of school staff. This includes 277 who are deemed to be priorities for checking – teachers and classroom assistants.

Some of these are newly qualified teachers, who, following guidance from the Department for Education and Skills, will be able to work in the classroom while CRB checks are completed.

A council spokesman said: "The small number of staff who are not able to be in a classroom will be in school undertaking planning and preparation work, but will not have direct contact with children."

There have been some difficulties in providing classroom support assistants for children with very specific special education needs. But they can attend school as normal today.

David Thornton, deputy director of education said: "We have been helping schools to operate within the DfES guidance to ensure that those people who can legitimately work with children are able to do so, and that those who cannot are clearly identified and given other work."

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