Several Banbury area schools open their doors to all year levels

Three Banbury area schools have open their doors to pupils from all year levels for them to finish out the remainder of the school year.

Thursday, 25th June 2020, 12:33 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th June 2020, 4:20 pm

The schools who have invited all their pupils to return to school include Sibford School, Hornton Primary School and St John's Priory School near the town centre of Banbury. All three schools say they are still following all government safety guidelines to protect against the coronavirus.

The whole of the Sibford Junior School, from early years to year six has now reopened for the remainder of the summer term. In the senior school, only years 10 and 12 are in attendance, in tutor-group bubbles, on set days.

Currently they have 105 pupils on roll in the junior school, including eight who've joined during lockdown. As of this week 95 junior school pupils have returned to school from Monday June 22.

Two pupils from St John's Priory School in Banbury town with the school's well-being dog, Cookie (photo from St John's Priory School)

Edward Rossiter, head of Sibford Junior School, said: "It has been really great to welcome back other year groups to Sibford Junior School - to hear their voices outside and to see the excited expression on their faces as they reconnect with their friends.

"We want to give them all an enjoyable end to the school year before the summer holiday, especially to our year 6s before they move up to senior school.

"We are getting outside as much as possible while working within the government guidelines on social distancing and reinforcing procedures for hand-washing.

"We feel it is crucial, to bolster the mental well-being of the children, to give them some time together - doing live lessons via Microsoft Teams was good, but it doesn't beat seeing your friends in person."

Pupils at Sibford Junior School (photo from Sibford Junior School)

St John's Priory School in Banbury town centre has opened its doors to all pupils in bubbles of 15.

Headmistress, Mrs Tracey Wilson, said: "We are a small school of less than 100 pupils. The Government and Department for Education guidelines require primary schools to restrict pupil contact by grouping them into groups of 15 or less that do not mix with the other groups.

"These are referred to as ‘bubbles’. This is essentially to reduce the risk posed by Covid-19 to pupils who cannot be expected to maintain social distancing measures at all times.

"It enables classes to have social distancing measures in place in the classrooms because there are less children to be accommodated in each room.

Pupils from St John's Priory School (photo from St John's Priory School)

"There are of course lots of other additional safety measures in place, including staggered timings at the start and end of the school day, an increased cleaning schedule of the site, premises and resources, handwashing routines, outdoor lessons and staggered playtimes to name a few.

"Our school and nursery have remained open throughout lockdown; to the children of keyworkers and more recently to school years of reception, one and six and the opportunity to reopen to all pupils before the summer holiday was something we were really excited about.

"The positive impact on our children is huge and they are thrilled to be back in school, interacting with their friends and teachers.

"The remote learning offered during lockdown was delivered across three online platforms and the children embraced all of their subjects from home, but there is clearly no substitute for the magic that happens in our children’s classrooms.

Pupils at Sibford Junior School (photo from Sibford Junior School)

"With the weather being kind too, we have been able to offer an outdoor curriculum to our nursery and reception children, and to take lessons for our older pupils outside wherever possible.

"From September we will be capping our classes at 15. Our small classes and specialist teachers have always been an asset, but maintaining a maximum class size of 15 will also help to protect our children as we go into the next phase of the Coronavirus pandemic."

Hornton Primary School has also invited to come back from this week.

During the coronavirus pandemic, Hornton Primary has been supporting children through a programme of home learning. On June 1, Hornton Primary School opened its doors to pre-school, reception, year one and year six children.

The village primary school has 94 pupils enrolled at the school.

Hornton Primary School head teach Karen Locke said 54 children have returned to the school this week, and are separted into four groups.

She said: “Thankfully, the layout of the school allows each group to have a separate entrance, exit, bathroom and outside space.”

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