Boris Johnson said, yesterday ( Monday 8th march 2021) “This has been a big day and an emotional day for millions of families up and down the country as children see – and play with – their friends for the first time in months. I want to thank the parents and all those who have been teaching at home, who have had to master Zoom, who’ve had to communicate every detail of the syllabus from fronted adverbials to quadratic equations.
And we all know that the burden has disproportionately fallen on women, often holding down jobs and providing childcare at the same time. So our job now as government is to build on your efforts so that from now on our school children not only catch up on lost learning but take the biggest possible step forwards with a concerted national programme for educational recovery.
It is thanks to all of you – parents, teachers, pupils –thanks to this huge national effort to keep kids at home that we have been able significantly to reduce the spread of the virus. And so today we have been able to take that crucial first step on what we hope is our cautious but irreversible roadmap to freedom.”
Farleigh School, at Red Rice in Andover told us, “We are SO delighted to have the children back in school, in their year group ‘bubbles’. The sun came out to play, too! Everyone has grown taller and there is a lot of long hair. Some boys are almost unrecognisable! They are so, so happy and this afternoon everyone in the school had a blast letting off steam on the sports fields, playing rugby and netball. Welcome back, Farleigh.”
On Monday 8th March, at Rookwood School of Weyhill Road Andover, Headteacher Anthony Kirk-Burgess and his team welcomed back all students to school.
There was certainly a shared feeling of relief and enjoyment to be back at Rookwood for staff and students alike.
Music Teacher of both the Lower and Senior School, Louise Parsons said that she was “delighted that the joy of Music returned to Rookwood as pupils enjoyed performing together in their Music lessons”.
Meanwhile, Head of Enrichment Liz Brown said “it was amazing to see the children socialising back in school especially as so many have booked into our holiday camps so they can be in school for five weeks! The atmosphere was wonderful!”
In Year 7, pupils in Mrs Allnutt’s form class received welcome back packages, which included a handmade mask, whilst the Boarders spent the evening enjoying the sunshine in their garden with an enjoyable game of football!
Alexandra age 14, said “It was great finally being back at school today. A highlight was seeing my friends and teachers in person and it’s especially wonderful to be back within the Rookwood community”.
Year 6 Teacher, Neil Brewer, certainly missed face to face learning and found “all those hours in front of a camera worthwhile, to see those happy faces sat in front of me ready to learn again”.
The Year 11 physics students had been studying space in lockdown lessons, yesterday they were able to go outside for a distanced practical on satellites and circular motion. They had to swing rubber bungs in a circle on different lengths of string and see how changing the radius affected the orbit time.
Students responded amicably to the new protocols that are in place at Rookwood. Learning Support Assistant, Helen Harvey said that “students took on board the changes with mask wearing with maturity and cooperated with the new guidelines around lunch, sitting separately and maintaining their social distance outside”.
Rookwood has undertaken various steps to open safely in line with DfE guidance.
Mr Kirk-Burgess explained “at the primary end of the school, there are very few changes and so these children can return to school as normal. In the Senior School, students are asked to wear masks inside buildings, including lessons, and they are tested twice a week for Covid-19.
“Whilst mask wearing is required in lessons inside, where possible we are teaching outside, and have introduced ‘mask breaks’ so students can have some respite. Furthermore, especially at GCSE, we have very small class sizes, allowing us to space the students 2m from each other so that they do not have to wear masks in those lessons.”
John Hanson students started their transition back too ‘normal’ school life by ALL coming in to school on Monday the 8th March for their 1st of 3 COVID tests. Rather than stagger their return, students’ desire to get back to their learning as soon as possible was listened to and a decision made to test the whole school, nearly 1000 students in one day. The 8am – 8pm marathon ran really smoothly – all students tested negative.
Due to the immense efforts of the staff involved all John Hanson students could return to school today – Tuesday 9th March
Russell Stevens (Headteacher) said, ‘ I visited every classroom this morning and could not be more proud with how well students have settled back in to learning. If it were not for the fact that they are all wearing face coverings you would not know they had been away – so impressive!’