Published: Friday, 29th May 2020

Medway schools have been busy preparing for the phased return of pupils from next week. 

The government has set out plans for a phased return of schools, starting with pupils in reception, year 1 and year 6 returning from Monday, 1 June. Secondary schools and colleges are preparing for some students to return from Monday, 15 June. 

Medway Council has continued to work closely with head teachers of maintained schools and academies while they support vulnerable children and those of key workers, and in recent weeks a huge amount of work has taken place to prepare for the safe return of pupils in certain year groups. 

Considerations have included classroom sizes and the number of classrooms, based on the availability of staff and outside space. Medway Council has provided support and advice to schools making decisions on the safe return of its pupils.  

Many primary schools across Medway will be welcoming back pupils from 1 June, following extensive preparations. Schools have been in direct contact with parents of pupils in reception, year 1 and year 6 regarding arrangements for their child’s return to school. 

Medway Council will continue to work with schools and follow the latest guidance and advice to ensure as many pupils as possible can go back to school safely, whilst ensuring important measures are in place to protect both children and staff.  

Schools have worked tirelessly to support children

Cllr Martin Potter, Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Education and Schools, said: “Schools across Medway have worked tirelessly to support children during the coronavirus pandemic. We really appreciate their tremendous efforts to keep schools open for vulnerable children and the children of key workers. 

“We have been in regular contact with head teachers throughout the pandemic and as more pupils begin to return to the classroom, we will continue to offer our support to schools and families. I would like to thank all school staff for their continued hard work, especially over the last few weeks as plans have been developed to ensure pupils can safely return to school. I would also like to thank our own council staff who are continuing to support schools.”  

Ensuring children can return to school safely

Cllr Josie Iles, Medway Council’s Lead Member for Children’s Services, said: “The health, safety and wellbeing of all children and school staff are of paramount importance to us and we have worked closely with educational settings across Medway to ensure that measures are in place to ensure children can return to school safely. I would like to thank everyone involved in ensuring children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) received transport to school to maintain their education, and support with health and care needs. Each school has made their own arrangements and although not every school will be opening next week, we are pleased that more children will be able to return to the classroom. This is just the start of a long journey in enabling Medway’s young people to return to their schools and we will continue to work hard to ensure we can welcome them all back as soon as we can and it is safe to do so. The coronavirus outbreak is an incredibly challenging time for all of us and I would like to thank children and families across Medway for adapting so well to the changes we are experiencing at the moment.” 

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