My staff have gone over and above

Kedington Primary Academy was one of the 15 primary schools within Unity Schools Partnership to open to Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 age groups this week.

Headteacher, Vicky Doherty, reflects on the first few days...

How did the first day of the phased reopening go?

It went really, really well. Many staff said they had butterflies and it felt like the beginning of a school year, but parents reported that children were really excited and had kept asking how many more days before they could come back. We staggered the arrival times today more than we will usually – Year 6 in normal time, Year 1 after morning break and Reception for the afternoon and the parents and children were brilliant in following all our arrangements to the letter. Teachers had sent home videos to show them exactly what to do and lots of staff were on hand to support them. There were huge smiles from the children as they returned!

What was the reaction of parents and students? 

We have had lots of positive feedback including one Reception pupil who said ‘I’ve had the best afternoon ever!’. One Year 6 pupil told me: "It is so much better learning at school than at home. It’s annoying to have to socially distance from each other, but we’re getting good at it and hopefully it won’t be for too much longer."

We also had the following note from a parent: "Just a quick message to say thank you so much for everything you have put in place over the last few weeks to make today go so well for the students. My child has come home buzzing and had a brilliant day! The routines and rules have made it really simple for them - he can’t wait for tomorrow!"

What did you focus on the first few days?

Making sure children felt really welcome and had a positive start. Establishing new procedures and routines in a fun way. Some of the usual learning activities, but also activities to support their wellbeing and to manage their anxiety. We wanted time to reconnect with each other. In addition, distance learning for all those not in school including pupils from Year 2-5, many of whom were contacted by phone. 

Was there a particular highlight from day one?

Just having lots of children back in the school and seeing their lovely smiles.

What would you like to say about staff?

It has been a massive piece of work to get everything ready in the building as well as supporting the children to be prepared to come back, planning teaching and learning within the restrictions and making sure everyone knows how everything will work in a safe manner. But staff have been absolutely amazing and really gone over and above including doing lots of work during their half term break. Their determination to do what they can to make sure the children have a postiive start and feel relaxed has been incredible.