The government has announced that all children must return to school at the start of the new school year in September. Attendance will be mandatory for all children from the beginning of the autumn term. It is only natural that many parents, carers and pupils will feel anxious about returning. Some children have not attended school since schools closed in March. For parents and children there will inevitably be some concerns and questions.
How can I reassure myself and my child that going back to school is safe?
Firstly , if you have any questions about what your child should expect on the first day of school, then please contact the school. Headteachers and school staff will be following government advice to ensure that children will be learning in a safe environment. They will be making sure that all parents, carers and pupils know the procedures that everyone is expected to follow before school starts in September. For example, Schools must: have strict hand-washing policies, promote the “catch it, bin it, kill it” approach when it comes to coughing and sneezing and step up cleaning arrangements. There may be staggered start and finish times to keep groups apart.
If you are unsure about your child’s school’s safety measures, then you must contact them before your child starts back in September.
I am worried that my child has fallen behind since lockdown
All children across the country will have had very different experiences of ‘home learning’. This will also vary for those children in your child’s school and class. For many reasons some children will have been able to access school work more regularly than others. Teachers will be aware of this. They are very skilled at knowing where children are in their learning. When children return, they will check where they are so that they can plan lessons that will address any gaps that inevitably all children will have, particularly in subjects such as maths and English.
What if my child or one of his friends shows signs of having Covid-19?
When schools reopen fully in England in September, the government wants teachers to keep classes or whole year groups apart in separate “bubbles”. Your child will be part of a “bubble”. The bubble your child is in may be asked to stay home and self-isolate as a precaution.
My child has special needs. I worry that he will find it difficult coping with the school’s safety measures
There are many changes that will be different for children to get used to when returning to school. All children will take some time to get used to the changes. When you know what the school has put in place for the beginning of term, spend some time talking to your child about what to expect. Also talk to your child’s teacher. Ask school leaders about their risk assessments and your child’s needs.