'I like being with my teacher and seeing everyone again'

Westfield Primary Academy in Haverhill reopened to Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 pupils this week, while continuing to support keyworker and vulnerable families and Year 2-5 children with comprehensive remote learning. Deputy Headteacher, Fiona-Catherine Thompson, reflects on the last few days...

Monday was a great day - it was lovely to see the children's smiles as they arrived. Toni Kittle (Headtacher) led our first Zoom assembly across the school about kindness, reflecting in classes how we have shown or seen kindness during this time.

The children have this week learned all abour our 'new normal' routines (handwashing, social distancing etc.) as well as lots of PSHE activities to support children as they adjust to being back in school. We are also planning transitioning activities for our Year 6 pupils as they prepare for secondary school.

Parents have been hugely supportive and engaged during lockdown and as we have reopened. We have seen some brilliant remote learning with over 25,000 submissions of photos and videos work the childen have done on our online platform.

These have been celebrated each week via a video assembly on our school YouTube channel where we have showcased highlights and have continued to award our 'Pupils of the Week' and 'Staff Member of the Week' certificates.

We have also made a school story video each week to entertain families every weekend. In addition, we have phoned every pupil at least once a week and dropped over 50 learning packs a week to those who needed extra support.

Coming back to school, our families have been positive and quickly adjusted to new layouts and classroom locations. The children were full of positivity and enjoyed seeing their friends and staff again. One Year 1 pupil said: "I like being with my teacher and seeing everyone again".

Our team have been brilliant throughout. We have offered a service to our keyworkers every day since lockdown, including holidays and bank holidays.

As we have prepared to reopen for more pupils, a huge effort to deep clean, rearrange the classrooms, prepare the site, risk assess, re-induct the team and plan an engaging curriculum - as well as supporting those at home who are not able yet to join us in school - has been made possible by a team who have gone above and beyond.

We are immensely proud of the support and care our team has offered throughout and continue to do.