Independent schools in England ‘delighted’ to see pupils return

Some independent schools have been able to reopen partially in June, including Stamford School which has also given a local school one of its teaching blocks

Independent schools in England were “delighted” to welcome back more pupils onsite at the start of June.

Burgess Hill Girls head, Liz Laybourn, said: “We are delighted to be able to welcome back some of our pupils this week. Seeing the girls’ happy faces as they get stuck into school life again makes it all worthwhile. I am now looking forward to the time the whole school community will be back together, hopefully it will not be long.”

The West Sussex school welcomed back nursery, reception, year 1 and year 6 children on 1 June. Children have been told to wear “comfortable home clothes and shoes” instead of uniform, have had to leave toys and books at home, and parents have no longer been allowed inside the school perimeter. To keep the school community from mixing, specific drop-off points have been set up for different classes away from the main school gates.

Independent schools
Burgess Hill Girls


At Wellington School, 95% of families with children in nursery, reception, year 1 and year 6 have returned.

Stamford School have even been able to help a local school. They have given Malcolm Sargent Primary School exclusive use of one of its teaching blocks, as the school was unable to house all of its pupils safely due to space restrictions.

Nick Gallop, head of Stamford School, said: “With maximum class sizes set at half their normal capacity, primary schools all over the country are facing enormous challenges in accommodating pupils in line with government guidance. I am delighted that we have been able to accommodate this group of pupils from Malcolm Sargent, and we are keen to offer any help and support we can to help all pupils in Stamford to get back to school as quickly and safely as possible.”

The government scrapped its plans for primary schools to bring back all pupils for a month before the summer break, but a £1bn fund to help England’s children catch up on what they have missed while schools have been closed has been announced by the prime minister. In a Twitter poll, IE found that 50% of respondents felt ‘positive’ about the government’s decision not to bring all pupils back before the summer break, whilst 38.9% felt ‘disappointed’.

At Parsons Green Prep School in London, all pupils will have the chance to come into school for the rest of the term, if they wish to. From 22 June, reception, year 1 and year 6 will be in all day, while years 2, 3, 4 and 5 will have a half-day each. Those who wish to return to the school can, and those that don’t can continue to learn from home. The children in school will keep to a ‘bubble’ and will not have contact with any other bubbles.

Headmaster Matthew Faulkner said: “The steps we are taking are intended primarily to offset the lack of social interaction experienced by children over the last three months. There have been several compelling news reports recently about the importance of allowing children to have contact with each other and with their teachers.”

All schools in Scotland will open from 11 August using a blended learning model. Johanna Urquhart, principal of Lomond School in Helensburgh, said: “Ahead of August, we will continue to review plans in line with the most up-to-date government advice and prepare for our children to return in the safest manner possible. We are very much looking forward to opening our doors again and getting back to some form of normality.”

Some pupils in Northern Ireland will return to school in late August, and schools in Wales will reopen from 29 June with a third of pupils allowed in school at any one time.

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