Louth Academy Year 10 students are taught in small cluster groups with two-metre social distancing in place at all times.
Year 10 students returned to school last week for some face to face contact with teachers, and at Louth Academy children have been praising the measures put in place to ensure their safety.
Extensive risk assessments have been undertaken at all seven schools within Tollbar Multi Academy Trust where the children of key workers and those who are vulnerable have continued to be educated throughout the three-month long crisis.
The prospect of more children returning to school has been welcomed wholeheartedly by teachers at the Academy who all agree that face-to-face contact and the reassurance, guidance and support of a teacher cannot be replaced by online learning, no matter how helpful virtual learning can be.
At present, a high percentage of Year 10 students at Louth Academy are back in the classroom. They are being taught in small groups, with social distancing measures and additional hygiene routines in place.
All seven TMAT schools have remained open for the children of key workers and vulnerable children throughout the Easter and May holidays including Bank Holidays. Staff at Louth Academy have been working hard throughout this period, supporting and teaching the children who have been attending school; contacting students at home to ensure support has been given when it is needed, and setting work and giving feedback using the Academy’s Virtual Learning Environment, FROG. However, teachers continue to be anxious to get all students back into full-time classroom learning, where staff can support and encourage them more effectively. The measures put in place for Y10 are definitely a step in the right direction.
Martin Brown, Executive Principal of Louth Academy, said teachers were consulted and trained before children returned to the classroom, to ensure the safety of both staff and students.
He said: “I am delighted to see the Year 10 students back in the classroom. It is really useful for them to be able to talk to their teachers and gain some reassurance about their GCSEs next year.
“We are very lucky here at Louth Academy as we have two sites, which has meant that we are able to accommodate small groups who have use of their own playgrounds and toilets.
“Extensive measures have been put in place to ensure everyone’s safety. The children of key workers and vulnerable children, who have been in school throughout this crisis, are being taught at the Lower Site and the Year 10 students at the Upper Site.
“However, with the current government guidelines we can only have 25% of the Year 10 students in school at any one time. We are very pleased to hear that it will be possible to have all children back in school for their lessons in September.
“Normally students receive five hours of tuition per day in school. Whilst it has been difficult for students and parents to replicate this at home during the pandemic, students have embraced our FROG Learning Platform, completing work and communicating with teachers. We have also had phone contact with every family to offer pastoral support throughout the crisis.
“Of course, none of this can replace classroom learning where students have a rapport with their teachers and interaction with fellow students. We know from talking to those students who are now back in Year 10 how much they have missed this.
“Some children have been anxious whilst in lockdown, but seeing them face to face we have been able to reassure them.”
Year 10 student Aidan Pratten (15) said: “It is much better to be back in school and learning in the way that we are used to. Learning by yourself and hoping you are doing well enough can be scary, but going back into class this week and finding out I am still on track is very reassuring.
“The new rules in class are taken very seriously in order to keep us safe and is does reassure people that are worried about Covid-19.”
Poppy Hunt (15) said: “I have felt a bit anxious about my studies because some subjects are harder to learn at home. The Frog Learning Platform has been helpful but I have really missed socialising in school.”
Jennifer Morgan (15) said: “It was really useful to access the online resources whilst at home and I felt quite confident doing it. But I do feel safe back in the classroom with all the measures in place and it is nice to know from the teachers that I am doing the work correctly.”
David Hampson, Chief Executive of Tollbar Multi Academy Trust, is delighted that all children could be back in the classrooms at Louth Academy by September for the start of the new academic year.
“The safety of our staff and students remains paramount of course, but getting them all back into school is vital for the future of their education,” he said.
(Above and below) Small cluster groups of students have their own toilets and playgrounds and are reminded to sanitise regularly with antibacterial hand wash stationed throughout the academy.