Disclaimer: It’s important to note this information is subject to change on a daily basis, dependent on government advice and regulations.
As the national lockdown eases and shops, pubs and offices start to phase reopening, schools in England are now beginning to allow children to return to school. To many parents’ delight, too!
Whilst it’s seen as an encouraging sign in a significant step towards some form of normality, we understand that many parents, and more importantly children, are feeling wary of their return to a populated space.
With this in mind, we’re going to explore when specifically your children will return to school, what you can do to maximise preparedness and any bits of information which may support you throughout the process.
When do children return to school?
Now, it’s important to note that this article may not be too relevant to some of you if you have children in Reception, Year 1 or Year 6 as those children have been phased back into schools since June 1. Your children also may have been in school during the entirety of lockdown if you are an ‘essential worker’.
As of June 9, the government has dropped plans for all primary school children to return to their schools before the summer holidays. Instead, primary schools will be given the flexibility to allow more students to return to school, if they so wish.
At the time of writing, secondary schools are to begin a phased reopening from June 15, beginning with Year 10 and Year 12. There are no concrete plans (as of June 9) for when the remaining school years will return to school, so if your children fall under that category, be sure to keep up to date with the latest government announcements.
What can I do to prepare the children?
Aside from the obvious annual ‘Back to School’ rituals, there is a lot you can do to both prepare your children for full-time learning and to ensure they are clued up on best safety practices to reduce any risk to themselves and others.
- The majority of children, if feasible, will have been learning throughout this lockdown period - though likely at a reduced rate than that of pre-lockdown. It may be beneficial to begin to have your children study during regular school hours to ease the transition. This can be done by setting work for a variety of subjects, and split the subjects into 45 minute to 60 minute periods to replicate the feeling of a school day.
- Consider and brief children on changes to the school environment for when they return. This will likely include a one-way route system within the entire school, much like in some supermarkets, to avoid any unnecessary close contact. There’s a high chance that lunch breaks will be staggered, as well as home time and the start of school for each year group. Though health and safety practice will probably differ from school-to-school, county-to-county, circumstance-to-circumstance, you can bet that new procedures and protocols will have been well considered by those responsible.
Outside of the above, do whatever you feel is necessary and beneficial to your own children. Be transparent and vocal with them so you’re aware how they’re feeling about the situation, and make informed decisions as a family.
Is there anything important to note?
At the end of the day, whilst we should trust the government and trust the process, you should also trust your instincts. Teacher and children safety is paramount and if it wasn’t deemed as a safe environment, then people wouldn’t be allowed back into the school environment.
It’s also not compulsory to send your children back to school when their year groups are allowed to. So, ensure you are happy with them returning, ensure they are happy with returning, and feel free to research as much on the topic as you can!
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