Primary school welcomes back more students as lockdown eases

The tree of hope at St Mary's Primary School.

St Mary’s Primary School in Richmond has welcomed back more students as lockdown restrictions have been eased.

The school has remained open throughout the crisis supporting children of key workers.

Headteacher Katie Whitehead say they had followed a phased approach to their wider opening, ensuring that safety was paramount.

“Having seen an increase in our key worker children we are at full capacity, with the current Government guidelines following the two-metre social distancing, building capacity and staffing capacity.

“We would love nothing more than to welcome all our children back to us at St Mary’s but recognise that this isn’t possible in the current climate.”

The head said the school’s behaviour policy was based on three Bs — Be Ready, Be Safe and Be Respectful.

“In keeping with our school ‘bee theme each of our bubbles have a bee themed name which assists the children in giving them a renewed sense of belonging and identity, one bubble being Bumble bubble and another bubble being Honey bubble.

“Routines and protocols are becoming embedded with cleaning being carried out throughout the day, regular handwashing and discussions which include why we are having to do things differently at the moment.”

The headteacher added that to ensure equity for all children, those children at school were accessing the home learning activities on a morning and then concentrating on the school’s bespoke mental health and well being programme.

“This programme includes the five ways to well being which include concentrating on empathy, worries, relationships, mindfulness and healthy life styles.  The children can work together with their families on a range of different activities to promote health and well being.  We have created a tree of hope in our school grounds with messages and prayers for friends and family.

“For some of our children at St Mary’s they will be entering their 12th week of home learning and not coming to school,  it is vital that we continue to support and reach out to children and families who aren’t able to access school, due to the government guidance.

“We will be going out to all our families over the coming few weeks with a message from us all at St Mary’s to ensure everyone still feels valued and connected with us all at St Mary’s.

“The wider opening is bitter sweet, as it is great to see the children’s smiley faces and hear the buzz around school again but it is also very hard for us all not to be welcoming all our children back at the moment.”

1 Comment

  1. Well done all at St Mary’s! The tree is absolutely beautiful and the children (and adults) loved the balloons to celebrate coming back to school! Lovely staff, lovely children and lovely school! Well done!

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