Students adapt to new normal


Rosa (left) and Miriam
Paridjanian.
Rosa (left) and Miriam Paridjanian.

Produced in association with UK Government

SCHOOLS ENSURE THAT STAFF AND PUPILS RESUME LESSONS IN SAFE ENVIRONMENT

A GROWING number of students across England are returning to schools after lockdown measures were eased following the outbreak of the pandemic in March.

Some year groups started returning to classrooms this month, a move welcomed by both students and parents.

At Bonneville Primary School, headteacher Andrea Parker worked hard to ensure that staff and pupils could resume lessons in a safe environment, where children were divided into “bubbles” with their own classrooms, and distance markers minimised the risk of infection.

Miriam Paridjanian’s 10-year-old daughter Rosa was among those who returned to school on June 3.

A qualified teacher herself, Paridjanian said, “We were apprehensive, obviously, but I was desperate for my daughter to go back to Bonneville because she was getting a bit down at home.”

Home-schooling was “very challenging,” she said, and welcomed the chance for Rosa to be able to work alongside her friends again.

“Rosa is normally very bright and bubbly, but she just wasn’t feeling happy,” Paridjanian said. “I had a really hard time motivating her, she was getting a bit despondent and unmotivated, and she didn’t want to do the work.

“The school seemed to have prepared for reopening very well. There had been lots of communication, and I knew if I had any queries they’d be answered; so when the offer came to send her back, I took it.

Rosa, too, was pleased to be back at Bonneville.

She said, “I was excited when mum told me I’d be going back to school, but nervous too, in case it didn’t work and we’d have to go back to being home schooled.”

According to Rosa, lessons are easier to do in school because “we have got help from our teachers”. She added, “I’ve made some new friends, because we all play together in our bubble in the playground now. I also like seeing my friends; everything’s more fun with friends.”

She does, however, miss some aspects of her previous routine in school. “We have to eat lunch in our classrooms then go out to play, whereas we’d usually just all eat together in the dinner hall, which is better,” Rosa said.

Andrea Parker

Parker has seen her efforts pay off after the school adopted the new safety guidelines.

“It’s all gone really well,” she said. “To see everyone sticking to the timetable, to see parents coming in and lining up on the two-metre lines as you planned them to do, bubbles of children moving at the right times, and everything running smoothly, makes me exceedingly proud.”

While 96 pupils returned to classes on June 3, within three weeks this number rose to 126 and 80 per cent of all children who were eligible to attend.

Parker said, “It’s been a community effort, and has taken a lot of hard work from education professionals who’ve spent hours perfecting what we need to do in order to get children back to school – we’ve been living and breathing it.

“The result was that there was no reluctance on the children’s part when they came back – they’re thrilled to see their friends and be able to play with each other. The parents have been very grateful too, and our teachers are really happy to be back.”

The school liaised with not only parents and students, but teachers, too. Parker said, “Any teachers who were anxious before coming back were reassured as soon as they saw how everything worked. We introduced the induction days to give teachers the opportunity to walk through and see the school in action for themselves before returning.”

Rosa’s mother Paridjanian summed it up, saying, “Psychologically, I think children need that routine of getting ready and leaving the house in the morning, and since we sent Rosa back after half term she’s perked up so much – she’s like a different child. It’s made a difference to the whole family.”

Around two thirds of secondary schools opened to more pupils last week, and thousands of Year 10 and 12 students are benefiting from invaluable contact time with their teachers.

TIPS FOR BACK AT SCHOOL

  • To reduce congestion at the school gates, only one parent
    should attend pick-up and drop-off.
  • Walk or cycle to school to ease the strain on public transport.
  • Practise healthy habits at home to support good hygiene in
    the classroom.
  • Above all continue to reassure your young ones.
  • Please closely refer to the protective measures in education and
    childcare settings guidance here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-
    19-implementing-protective-measures-in-education-and-childcare-
    settings

This is UK Government advice for England.

Please check with your local authority for the latest news on schools opening in your area.