Returning to school after lockdown: How one primary school in Harborough is adjusting in these extraordinary times

Thrilled headteacher Nikki Matthew said: “These are exciting days for all of us as children start to return"

Monday, 8th June 2020, 4:59 pm

Excited youngsters are starting to return to Farndon Fields Primary School in Market Harborough.

Early Years Foundation Stage pupils, aged four turning five, filed back into the school on Thursday June 4.

The 51-year-old school on Argyle Park welcomed back pre-school children – three and four-year-olds – on Monday June 8.

A rainbow by the key worker children.

And slightly older Year One and Year Six boys and girls are returning to classes on Wednesday June 10 as the Covid-19 lockdown eases up and the country starts to return to normal.

Thrilled headteacher Nikki Matthew said: “These are exciting days for all of us as children start to return.

“We are living in extraordinary times – nobody could have anticipated such a crisis as this.

“So it is brilliant to see our pupils, on top of vulnerable children and the children of key workers, begin to come back to our school.”

One of the new look classrooms.

She said it has taken weeks to rejig and set up the 282-child school for pupils returning after the unprecedented 10-week lockdown.

“We have been working closely with our trust, the Discovery Schools Academy Trust.

“We have produced a special child-friendly video for our youngsters,” said Nikki.

“We have put together a selection of mini-videos to help youngsters prepare for the big day.

How the playground looks now.

“The clips show children which gate to come in, where to sit in the classroom and stand in the playground and to wash their hands, for example.

“We have also compiled a reintegration booklet for parents and a risk assessment document.

“We have put all of those and more on our school website so that parents and families have easy access to all that they need to know.

“A few parents have said that they are not sure but the vast majority are happy to send their children back to us.

“So we are continuing to provide online learning as we have to respect and cater for those who are still not coming in.

“It’s a big decision for parents but they have been very supportive and really got behind us in these challenging times.

“And they have given us great feedback on the videos we have made for their children.”

She said the school, opened in 1969, had been drastically updated and modernised over the last few years.

“We are lucky because we sit on a big site.

“We have four different gates, we can access all over the school outdoors and we have a lot of space,” said Nikki.

“All of that is making it easier for us to manage the current situation.

“Pupils are sitting six feet apart but their tables are touching each other so they still feel connected with each other.

“The children are really happy to be back – they are so resilient.

“They are delighted to see us and they are so pleased to see their friends again after so many weeks.

“I also want to say a massive thank you to our 38 staff here.

“They have been incredible.

“They have worked so hard to get our school ready and I couldn’t have done it without them – so hats off to all of them!”

Nikki said they are also appealing for old laptops to be donated so that they can refurbished for pupils.

If you can help the school then please contact the Discovery Schools Academy Trust On 0116 318 4066.

“We would hugely appreciate any help that the public can give us,” said Nikki.