Home learning pupils have returned to Cotgrave Candleby Lane School in style under an arch of balloons and with a special timetable to support their wellbeing and learning.
Head Teacher Caroline Armstrong said it was great to have children back. “We wanted the first day back to be a celebration of children returning to school.
To do this, children who have been in attendance throughout (keyworker and vulnerable children as per the DfE criteria) helped their teachers to decorate the school with welcome banners and by bringing all of the classrooms back to life!”
Caroline says that children also prepared a video with Teacher Adam Durant which was designed to help returners and their families understand new ways to access the school safely and as a reminder of the measures in place which will keep school users safe.
To prepare for the return, Caroline said that the school had canvassed children’s thoughts about coming back. “We knew we had to reassure children who had not attended school since Christmas, and the survey helped us to identify strategies to support and address their needs. Children and staff needed to reconnect with each other, rebuilding relationships and friendships is so important.
“Finally, we need to re-establish routines and expectations to support children to return to school life. The support we offer children to reintegrate will continue for as long as it takes.”
Caroline said one common result from the pupil survey was that children felt nervous as they had forgotten what their classroom looked like.
To mitigate this, staff worked with the children in school to do a short video in their classroom to share with the children at home to reassure them in preparation for their first day.
Staff have also contacted parents and carers directly if children expressed any other anxieties and the pastoral team uploaded resources to the school website for families to work on with their children, to prepare for the return.
“The week has gone very well indeed!” said Caroline. “Children will continue to need support and we are prepared for that.
“But we have been delighted by their resilience and their kind support of each other in this first week.
“The school building feels alive with the sounds of children and it is heart-warming to see so many smiling faces again.
“We are ‘Team Candleby’ again and all the stronger for it.
“We want to thank all of our children and their families, those who have been in school and the returners, for their amazing support of the school and each other, -and their stoical response to what has been a difficult time for everyone.”