Sheffield headteacher sends message to parents after ‘lovely’ first week back

A Sheffield headteacher has spoken of her delight at being able to welcome pupils back into the classroom.

Wednesday, 17th June 2020, 2:20 pm
Updated Thursday, 18th June 2020, 1:56 pm

Nina Gunson, the headteacher at Sheffield High School For Girls, described the first day back for some pupils on Monday as “absolutely lovely”.

Many students across the city have returned to their classrooms for the first time since Friday 20 March. Nationally, some schools have been reopen since 1 June but on the advice of Sheffield’s director of Public Health, Greg Fell, schools in the city reopened on 15 June.

Ms Gunson said the school was “really disappointed” not to be able to return on 1 June but “absolutely understood” Sheffield’s Council’s decision.

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Sheffield Girls School

She told The Star: “Seeing the pupils yesterday was just an absolute joy. The reception girls taught me how to do a socially distanced hug.

“They got on absolutely brilliantly. Some Year 6’s have grown into Year 7’s, they had almost outgrown the classroom.”

Pupils in reception, Year 1 and Year 6 are back on the school site full time, while pupils in Years 10 and 12 have been split into four groups and come in on separate days. Around 900 girls aged from three to 18 usually attend the school but there are currently less than 200 coming in because of the restrictions in place.

Ms Gunson, who is in her second year as headteacher after previously serving as deputy headteacher for five years, added: “For those who have been able to come back, to get four weeks of normality, I think it will have no end of benefits.”

Reception pupils who returned to Sheffield Girl’s on Monday demonstrate a socially distanced hug

She said it would be “unfeasible” to allow all students to return at this stage, however.

Ms Gunson said: “It’s easy to lose sight of that and sometimes easy for parents to lose sight of that. The risk assessment is extensive, the extra provision that’s in place, extra cleaning teams and classrooms that we need to dedicate to pupils, it would just be unfeasible at this stage to have all the pupils in.”

She also paid tribute to her ‘amazing’ staff for their ongoing efforts.

She said: “They have been absolutely amazing. They have just had the pupils at the forefront of everything they have done.”