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Schools' return a 'resounding success'

Schools' return a 'resounding success'

Friday 12 June 2020

Schools' return a 'resounding success'

After weeks of home learning, local students have settled back into school life "extremely well" according to ESC, with children, parents and teachers embracing the changes.

All of the Bailiwick's schools have had to adapt to follow Public Health guidelines and staff have been working hard to ensure students can social distance in their classroom or year group 'bubbles'.

"When you step back and look at the number of things which have been considered, it quickly becomes apparent how much work school and Education Office staff have had to do," said President of Education, Sport & Culture, Deputy Matt Fallaize.

"Each of the island’s schools is its own community, in its own environment, and each of them have had their own hurdles to overcome, yet this week has started off extremely well. We are delighted to see how many families have evidently jumped into the Guernsey Together spirit, deciding to travel actively to school to prevent traffic problems, and embracing the changes that have had to be made.

St Martin's Primary school social distancing

Pictured: Distanced desks at St Martin's Primary School.

"As a committee we wanted to thank staff, students and parents for all their efforts.” 

Parents and other volunteers have been called in to help over the past week, assisting with drop off and pick up times, as well as cleaning equipment after break and lunch times.

"I think it's another example of Guernsey Together, how well people have joined in and helped each other in the circumstances," added Headteacher of Vale Primary School, Gary Hind.

"Similar to other schools, we've had a greater number of children and parents walking to school and a greater number cycling to school as well. Also, those that use the cars have been understanding in terms of the new organisations etc. It’s been really, really positive.

"It was great to see [the children's] happy smiling faces and those of the parents as well on the first day. Obviously, there was some anxiety but the teachers were prepared for them. They did lots of pastoral sessions about the new organisation, how things are going to go etc and we’ve kept in touch with that over the first few days.

Gary Hind Vale Primary School

Pictured: Gary Hind at Vale Primary School.

"It’s been really good - the children are feeding back that it’s just like normal school, they’re enjoying it, they’re enjoying lessons and playing together. It’s gone really well.

"I was on duty again [yesterday] morning, welcoming the children in, and there were lots of happy ‘good mornings’ as if it was normal. That’s what we want."

The school has also received a lot of good feedback from parents, who have been impressed by the way staff have dealt with the challenge.

"We’ve had lots of positive comments, either as we’re seeing parents at the beginning or end of the day, they’ve messaged into school or called into school to say how well things are going - particularly how smooth the morning into the afternoon has been because that’s normally a pinch point," continued Mr Hind.

"I think the parents were happy they were coming back, the children were happy to come back and also we’re happy they’re coming back as well. There’s a reason that we have schools, so it was great to see them back and to be able to continue what we normally do, to help them learn, grow and flourish."

There are likely to be some further changes in the coming weeks though, as the island moves into Phase Five of the lockdown exit strategy. That will see a relaxation of the restrictions around social distancing and public gatherings from 20 June, with all businesses - including extra-curricular groups - able to open as normal.


Pictured: Children are being encouraged to walk or cycle to school.

"I would like to thank the staff for all their superb work over the months that this has been going on and the parents too because they’ve been fantastic and really supportive as well," Mr Hind concluded.

"Just over the last week, I’d like to thank the douzaine and the Vale parish church hall because they’ve helped us with our drop off points as well.

"It’s just been a Guernsey Together situation and we’re really proud of how people have joined together to help us throughout the situation."

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