Preparing your child for returning to school
Posted on Friday 5th March 2021
Parents and carers in Blackpool are being asked to start preparing their child for going back to school next week.
Blackpool’s primary schools will open to all pupils from 8 March. Secondary school year groups and college students will return throughout the week. The usual rules around school attendance will be reintroduced in both primary and secondary schools.
Schools in Blackpool have remained open throughout the pandemic to support critical workers and vulnerable children. This has been managed safely thanks to all the support from headteachers, teachers and school staff.
Throughout the current lockdown, school attendance has averaged between 17-19%, with very low transmission rates.
With educational settings due to begin reopening fully from Monday 8 March, now is the time to start planning for the return to the classroom.
Psychologists, parents and teachers all recognise the importance of regular and stable childhood routines for successful development.
Here’s five tips to help support your child’s return to school.
1.Start talking about it
Have you talked to your child about what to expect? Children feel safer and less anxious when they know what to expect so explain that things may look a little different in school when they return.
Information about arrangements made by your child’s school may be available on the school’s website or could be provided by contacting the school directly.
2. Set the alarm
With early starts on the cards soon, try and get your new routine up and running as soon as you can.
Many children have had a different routine for weeks on end and sleep patterns take several days to change. That means getting to school and staying awake all day may be an achievement for some at first! If they have been getting up late, try rousing them a little earlier every day to get them ready for next week.
3. Walk the walk
Where possible, walk the route to school before the first day back to get your child used to the journey.
If you live near to your child’s school, make the school run fun by cycling or scooting the journey with them. This will also provide an opportunity for your child to raise any worries they might have about being back in school.
4. Encourage independence
Practice handwashing and independent skills such as buttons and fastenings.
If your child has concerns about safety issues then offer reassurance about how the teachers and support staff know what to do to keep everyone safe in school. Mention handwashing, social distancing and class bubbles.
5. Be positive
Children may feel anxious or scared at the loss of familiar home routines and become tired or overwhelmed until they re-establish new ones.
Offer reassurance and make allowances if needs be and recognise that your child is undergoing a period of adjustment. Remind them how well they used to do before lockdown and talk about all the positive aspects of school life, including being with their friends, seeing their favourite teacher and taking part in fun lessons.
The existing protective safety measures have been strengthened for all pupils to return to the classroom from next week.
Secondary school and college students will take COVID-19 tests from 8 March – in addition to regular testing for all teachers – to reduce the chance of the virus spreading in schools.
Face coverings are required in class for secondary school students and also for parents and staff in primary schools. This will be reviewed at Easter.
Roger Farley, Headteacher at Westminster Primary Academy, said:
“All school staff are excitedly planning for schools to welcome all children back on 8 March.
“Every step is being made to ensure the schools are as ‘Covid-secure’ as possible. Public Health England have refreshed the system of controls to support schools and colleges to assess risk and implement measures to mitigate risk, including ventilating occupied spaces, introducing enhanced cleaning and minimising contact and mixing.
“Outside of school, we would ask all pupils, students and staff to continue to do everything they can to adhere to these measures, because it is vital that they are implemented well and consistently.
“The children we have had in school from key workers and vulnerable families have shown that, despite excellent online learning being made available during lockdowns, school is the best place for children to learn and flourish.
“We can’t wait to start this step back towards normality and have many plans in place to ensure the children’s welfare as well as their educational needs are met.”
It is vital that children and young people return to school to get a good education to help them in their future lives, for their wellbeing, and for their wider development.
Face-to-face education is key to a child’s future success and contact with their friends and peers is an important part of a child’s development.
Cllr Kath Benson, Blackpool Council Cabinet Member for Schools, Education and Aspiration, said:
“We still believe that school is the best place for children and young people to be.
“Missing out on more time in the classroom puts pupils at risk of falling behind, not seeing their friends and not getting involved in activities.
“Many children haven’t spent much time inside a classroom this year so they are no longer used to the school routine. We’re urging everyone to start getting ready for the return to school next week and to get back into the routine as much as possible.
“If parents have any concerns, then they can either contact the individual school directly or contact the Pupil Welfare Service by emailing email@example.com.
“Our schools are grateful for your support throughout the pandemic and appreciate your understanding and patience.”
Dr Arif Rajpura, Blackpool Council’s Director of Public Health, added:
“We have had low transmission rates in schools since the start of the pandemic.
“It’s important to note that schools in Blackpool have remained open throughout the lockdown to support critical workers and vulnerable children and we have managed this safely.
“Vaccinations are now beginning to have an impact and Blackpool is ahead of the curve in relation to vaccinating the key groups.
“As a council, we will continue to offer our support every step of the way, including providing round the clock access to any public health support that is required.”
For more information, visit www.blackpool.gov.uk/BackToSchoolSafely
Posted on Friday 5th March 2021