image captionHead teacher of Jeavons Wood Primary, Sue Wright, says class bubbles would mean any potential Covid-19 outbreak would be contained
Lockdown-easing measures will see schools in England reopen from 8 March. The BBC spoke to parents and teachers at two schools in Cambridgeshire to find out what this means for them.
‘I’m not worried about children catching up’
image captionJeavons Wood Primary School in Cambourne caters for 426 children
Sue Wright “desperately” wants children back in school.
The head teacher of Jeavons Wood Primary School, in Cambourne, Cambridgeshire, says it is time “to trust the scientists”.
About a quarter of the school’s 426 children have been attending during the lockdown as they come from vulnerable families or those of key workers.
Ms Wright says a return of all pupils will mean the continuation of policies introduced in September, at the end of the first lockdown, such as hand-washing, social distancing and class bubbles.
She says: “We are so proud of our children and our parents. They are keeping the learning going at home. They love to interact with us.”
Ms Wright, who has worked at the school for six years, says the main job will be “settling everybody back into learning,” as well as giving children the chance to socially interact again.
“We are expecting some of our children to have made accelerated progress because they have had one-to-one learning at home with a trusted adult. For some, it won’t be the same.
“I’m not worried about children catching up.
“Everybody needs to trust the teachers now and listen to them, and let them adapt things as needed.”
Regarding the decision to return on 8 March, she adds: “I have to trust that the scientists will make that decision and advise the government.
“And then we have to do what we can to keep everybody calm in school and get the children back in a safe way.”
‘The children have been such troopers’
image captionMeeting people in real life, rather than online, is something Shyla is looking forward to
Shyla, a year five pupil at the school, says she has missed her friends and teachers during the latest lockdown.
The 10-year-old says the best thing about going back would be “just being around them again, and being able to “talk to them properly and not over Zoom or Skype”.
Mum Sohini, who has two children at the school, admits lockdown has been “quite challenging, having to work from home and home-school at the same time”.
But she adds the school has been “so very supportive”.
image captionSohini and her daughter Shyla say they have found home schooling challenging
“The teachers have been great providing online support and all the content we can work on from home,” she says.
“The children have been such troopers. I’m amazed that they’ve taken this in their stride.
“We are a little apprehensive about everyone coming back at the same time, but I think the children really need to get back into school.”
‘There’s been no laughter’
image captionNine-year-old Verity says she has been walking more during the lockdown, but cannot wait to see her friends at school
Victoria, whose daughter Verity is in year four, is also looking forward to the return.
“I can’t wait. It will just give the whole family a break,” she says.
“It’s been quite tough, this lockdown, much harder than the first one.
“All my time is taken up with the home schooling in the morning, and then we try and do some exercise in the afternoon.
“Verity will be able to see her friends and play. There’s been no laughter, you don’t hear the children outside playing and laughing any more.”
Nine-year-old Verity is ready to get back in the classroom.
“I haven’t liked not seeing my friends,” she says. “Also, my mummy’s not a teacher.
“I will be ecstatic because I’ve really missed school.”
‘Delighted – but with a number of anxieties’
image captionThe Principal of Comberton Village College, Peter Law, says testing the 1,900 pupils at his school will be a logistical challenge
Peter Law is the principal at Comberton Village College, based just outside Cambridge.
He says staff would be “delighted” to have children back at the 1,900-pupil school, which caters for 11 to 18 year olds.
“We are providing great education for them, but it is not the same as having them on site,” he says.
Mr Law admits, however, that there will be “a number of anxieties” from children, parents and staff, including around the logistics of testing.
“We’ve got good testing regimes set up now. We’re going to have to ramp that up significantly,” he says.
“There is no expectation of social distancing among children within their bubbles.
“We’ve organised them into year groups, we’ve changed the timetable so they move around school less and we have the adults socially distancing from children.”