Primary school is one of UK’s first to reopen to all years

An inventive local primary school has used portaloos and a giant marquee classroom to become one of the first schools in the UK to welcome back pupils from all year groups.

St Paul’s Church of England Primary welcomed 82 children from years Reception through to Year Six back to school on Monday, June 22, completing its phased reopening towards full capacity.

The resourceful school say children have been delighted to come back and see their friends, and parents are “overwhelmingly supportive” of the measures taken to allow their children to return to school.

The move follows the Government’s announcement that more pupils in further years could return to school as long as they are able to accommodate them and meet a number of protective targets, including limiting class sizes to no more than 15.

Primary schools reopened to reopened to years’ one, six and reception on June 1, followed by years’ 10 and 12 in secondary schools, but it is expected that all students will not be returning until September at the earliest.

But at St Paul’s Church of England Primary School, located in Swanley, they’ve managed to buck the trend.

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In order to meet these guidelines, the school has hired and set up a large marquee to use as a classroom for Year Five pupils.

This means they have been able to provide classrooms for all students, whilst still ensuring each year group is taught in separate bubbles of up to 15 pupils, each led by a teacher of teaching assistant.

The primary school has also hired portaloos and portable sinks to ensure they are in line with Public Health England guidelines for youngsters to have easy access to hand-washing facilities.

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The school tweeted out on Monday: “We are delighted to welcome the whole school back today!

“A wonderful feel to have everyone back! Huge thanks to parents, staff and children for their support!”

Staff have also returned in full to the school after having been brought back on a “skeleton” basis, although no end of year tests mean teachers have been given greater flexibility.

Whilst not every single pupil has yet returned, children from every year group have been welcomed back with their own zones, entrances and exits.

The school told us: “Children have been delighted to come back and see their friends.

“And parents are overwhelmingly supportive of the measures and pleased to have their children back to school.

Headteacher Ben Hulme said the school had just tried to be open, honest and prepared about what was going on.

“We just wanted to get them back and give them some time to check in,” he said.

“Just to be able to get some in groups, have an individual teaching experience and understand what is going on.”

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