Sheffield staff and pupils say return to school ‘exciting’ but still have concerns

Students and teachers have said they are pleased to be back in the classroom as some go back for the first time today.

Many schools are offering a staggered return for in-person teaching this week, with many people in school for the first time in over two months.

Sophie Maxwell, 22, a science teacher at Newfield Secondary School in Norton Lees, said: “It was super exciting to go back, and really lovely to see colleagues again.

“Looking at scientific advice, it’s probably not the right time to go back. I think there are lots of school staff going in who are still at a vulnerable age or position.

“There is some frustration among the teaching staff about not being vaccinated, but in terms of the disadvantage gap and getting kids back into school and learning, it’s so vital.”

Many vulnerable children and children of key workers have received face-to-face teaching during lockdown, with all of Newfield’s year groups set to return on Wednesday.

Miss Maxwell said: “It’s hard to socially distance with both staff and students.

“But I’d say, trust us. It’s a very thorough plan in terms of, every year group has a different break time, lunch time, movement time, they have to walk in certain circuits round the school.

“And because of the self-test kits, staff and students are going to be safer, because even if they’re asymptomatic we’ll know sooner if it’s a positive test or not.”

She said that there had only been a 30% uptake in online learning from the students at Newfield, but that the return to school will boost engagement.

Hamzah Shah, 18, a pupil at Silverdale School, near Parkhead, said: “Being back in school has been very positive for me.

“It was great for my mental wellbeing as I could speak face-to-face with my mates and my teachers again.”

The return to face-to-face teaching is part of the Government’s “roadmap” out of national lockdown, described by Prime Minister Boris Johnson as the first step towards “a sense of normality”.

 

Written by Charlie Baker

Twitter: @charlieb_27

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