Pupils will need time to adjust to formal education again when schools return, warns Sheffield Council spokesperson

A Sheffield councillor has warned that children will need time to adjust to formal education again after plans were proposed that could see summer schools rolled out across the city.

Saturday, 27th February 2021, 7:00 am

Councillor Abtisam Mohamed, Sheffield Council’s cabinet member for education and skills, was speaking after the Government announced plans for all schools in the city to return on March 8.

She said: "It is great news that pupils will be able to return to the classroom next month, I know everybody in the school community cannot wait to welcome them back.

"Being in school is the best place for our children socially, academically and for their health and wellbeing – which is where the focus should be right now.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

All schools in Sheffield will return on March 8 (photo: David Davies/PA Wire).

"There are some schools that already provide activities through the holidays. The additional funding is a welcome start to increase this provision, if individual schools, pupils, and parents decide it is the right thing for them to do.

"Children have been through so much disruption over the past year, having missed out on critical social interaction, routine and personal development opportunities. We now need to support them to readjust, yet again, before we start to discuss making up for academic shortfalls."

Under the Government’s plan, parents can also opt to have their children tested for Covid using lateral flow devices (LFDs), although this may mean that their child’s return to school is staggered.

The city’s director of public health Greg Fell said that while these could help stop the spread of the disease, they were only one part of a much bigger toolkit schools had at their disposal.

Councillor Abtisam Mohamed , Sheffield Council's cabinet member for education and skills.

He said: “Testing using lateral flow devices (LFDs) is just one more tool in the toolbox to help schools keep their students and staff safe.

“The tests add to existing safety measures schools already have in place, such as working in bubbles, good ventilation, social distancing and frequent hand washing.

"Testing twice a week can help identify cases of Covid sooner and so help break chains of transmission, however, tests can also miss cases of Covid so it’s still critical that people continue following the current guidance – even if they have a negative LFD result."

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a digital subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.

Greg Fell, director of public health for Sheffield.