Weekly Column 15.07.20

Many of you have contacted me over the last few months about children returning to school and with two children myself at home, I understand and sympathise with the many concerns that parents and teachers have written to me about.  Trying to combine full time work with home schooling has been a real challenge for many parents and I for one will be relieved when the school holidays start so that parents and teachers can have some time away from what is a sub-optimal situation for all.

I have been in touch with schools across the Moorlands over the last few months.  I have been so impressed by how quickly schools adapted to provide online and remote learning.  Having spoken to teachers, I know how much extra work goes into setting up an online class compared to one in the classroom and the concerns that teachers have about all their students.

After the summer holidays, schools are working to welcome back all students.  I was keen to see the work being done to prepare for the autumn term and so was pleased to visit All Saints’ School in Leek to see this for myself.

It was a pleasure to catch up with headteacher Liz Allbutt and hear about the measures they have put in place to cope with the challenges that Covid-19 has presented.  Each school is unique and it is therefore right that Headteachers can make choices about how they manage the school day and the year group “bubbles” that will be the new normal from September.  Lise Houldsworth from the Talentum Federation also explained the issues that are common across schools in Leek.  I know people are concerned about the return to school, but I was very reassured by the professional way that I have seen our schools preparing for it.