l A HEADTEACHER has spoken out on the positives of getting children back in the classroom as well as the challenges faced during Covid-19. Joanne Williams, of Hassenbrook Academy, has introduced a host of measures including bubbles, an emphasis on cleaning as well as regular reviews of practices. Here she shares her thoughts about welcoming pupils back.

Trying to deliver education now, in this context, is a huge challenge for schools.

I don’t read enough about what schools are doing to make their systems work and to keep their students separate.

Equally, there’s not enough coverage of how positively we are working with our communities and our children.

Following pupils’ return this September, the school has kept an emphasis on continuing with specialist subjects, such as PE and the arts.

This has worked extremely well since re-opening.

We felt that, particularly for younger students, they need time to do those more hands-on subjects, so school is still a positive experience and not all about keeping distance and not moving.

If that was all we were doing, it would make for quite a miserable experience.

I absolutely think having everyone back is the best thing to do.

We needed to see the children.

Necessary though it was, trying to deliver lessons online, make phone calls and have home visits this was not an enjoyable experience for anyone in education.

We knew that we had to lockdown and that this was essential to deal with Covid.

But it was never something teachers were overly keen on.

We get our inspiration and satisfaction from teaching and seeing children learn, and from building relationships.

All this is very difficult to do online.

So, we are all very happy to be back with our students to give immediate feedback in the classroom.