Sheffield primary school headteacher outlines concerns over plans to get pupils back in the classroom

A Sheffield headteacher says school life will be very different if pupils return next month - and fears she will not be able to accept anyone other than children of key workers.

Friday, 15th May 2020, 5:33 pm

The Government this week outlined plans for pupils in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 to return to school on June 1 as part of the gradual easing of the coronavirus lockdown in place since March.

Now the headteacher of Abbey Lane Primary School in Woodseats has written to parents to inform them how the return will work in practice and how many places they will have available.

In the letter, headteacher Maxine Stafford says class sizes will be restricted to eight children, with all work done on worksheets to limit the sharing of resources.

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All children will be given new classes with a new teacher and will not be allowed to mix with other groups outside class time.

Reading corners and most of the outdoor equipment will be removed and there will be staggered start and end times.

Parents will not be allowed into the schoolyard at the beginning and end of the day, with children escorted to and from their teachers by a member of the school’s leadership team.

The school says it has 191 key worker children and only 168 places available if two metre social distancing is to be achieved.

Abbey Lane Primary School, Abbey Lane. Picture: Andrew Roe

"If all key workers request provision, we will not be able to accommodate all of them, never mind look at phasing FS2, Y1 and Y6 back into school,” the letter says.

The guidance also makes clear that while parents are being encouraged to send their children back to school by the Government, they will not be fined for choosing not to do so.

Mrs Stafford says: “I am sorry that this information is not of a more pleasant and optimistic tone. Like you, I have a lot of questions, and not many answers.

“This is not ideal for FS2, nor any children. A large part of children’s time at school revolves around social interaction – this will not be possible. It will be a very different setting that you send your children back to, should you choose to do so.”