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Primary school goes ‘above and beyond’ to reopen for all pupils

PUBLISHED: 16:30 29 June 2020

Head Teacher of Woolpit Primary Academy Sarah Clayton Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Head Teacher of Woolpit Primary Academy Sarah Clayton Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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Teachers at Woolpit Primary Academy have put in a phenomenal amount of extra work to welcome all year groups back for the final weeks of summer term – and it is believed to be the first school in Suffolk to do so.

Reception pupils reading in the outdoor space  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNReception pupils reading in the outdoor space Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The academy headteacher Sarah Clayton only started at the school in January, just eight weeks before the announcement that schools were to close due to the coronavirus pandemic.

MORE: Suffolk school cuts summer holidays by three weeks

“When they announced the schools would close it was absolutely gutting,” she said. “Then on June 1 on the initial reopening for years reception, one and six I was quite anxious, but we haven’t actually closed the school for a single day since the start of lockdown.

“The government guidance changes every five minutes and it was a logistical nightmare to get to June, the risk assessments were astronomical.”

Reception pupils enjoying their time in the playground Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNReception pupils enjoying their time in the playground Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Once three year groups returned to school Mrs Clayton decided to put all of her effort into giving every child in the school the opportunity to come back for the remainder of the term.

Teachers have been split into home learning and school learning with staff making visits to children who are hard to reach, to teach them face to face in their gardens and sometimes drop off care packages.

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The headteacher explained: “Everybody is doing really well, the staff are working day and night and going above and beyond for the children.

A reception pupil having fun in the outdoor area Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNA reception pupil having fun in the outdoor area Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

“Every single child has had face to face teaching and anyone on the Emotional Literacy Support Assistant (ELSA) register has had visits in person while maintaining social distancing.”

From today, the school is expecting around 60% of pupils to return for four days a week – the site will close on Wednesdays for a deep clean.

A questionnaire was sent out to parents to gauge the interest of bringing all the children back and the response was largely positive.

Mrs Clayton added: “My attitude was to get as many children in as possible.

“We are lucky as we have four sets of toilets and have been really creative with our spaces outdoors, it’s just so lovely to be able to welcome them all back.

“It is no secret our performance was rated poorly by Ofsted, but we have taken the opportunity during lockdown to do about 18 months of improvement work and we’re ready to get going.”

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