Published: Friday, 28th August 2020

Medway’s schoolchildren will return to the classroom next week.

We have continued to work with head teachers and trust chief executives on plans to support all year groups returning to the classroom at the start of the new school year. 

We have provided support and advice to schools on measures which can be put in place to protect both pupils and staff. New social distancing measures include one-way systems in hallways and corridors, staggered arrival and departure times for pupils, staggered break and lunch times and pupils being taught in only one classroom. 
 
Although the government is not recommending face coverings are necessary in schools in England, head teachers have the discretion to require pupils in year seven and above to wear face coverings in communal areas. Each school is responsible for putting its own measures in place and is directly contacting families and pupils to advise of its arrangements.

Travelling to school

Public transport companies have been busy putting their own measures in place, including deep cleaning, to allow customers to travel safely and to prepare for schools to reopen. 
 
All children aged 11 and over, that do not have exemption, are currently required by government to wear a face covering on public transport. 
 
Bus companies will be providing as much capacity as possible for schools and colleges. Parents and pupils are encouraged to visit the operator’s website for further details or our travel advice
 
Southeastern has also put additional safety measures in place including one-way systems and extra staff. Train timetables will return to 98 per cent running capacity from Monday, 7 September to offer more space to facilitate safe travel.
 
Pupils with a shorter journey to school are encouraged to walk or cycle. Get road safety advice, especially with the darker days drawing near.

Ensuring Medway’s children receive the best education possible

Cllr Martin Potter, Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Education and Schools, said: “I am pleased Medway’s schoolchildren will be reunited with their teachers and classmates once again. We have continued to work with schools and head teachers across Medway over the summer to ensure all children and young people can return safely to the classroom in September. I would like, once again, to thank Medway’s teaching staff for their continuing commitment to ensuring all our children and young people receive the best education possible in these unusual times. We will continue to offer our support and advice to all primary and secondary schools and academies across Medway and help to ensure Medway’s young people continue to receive an excellent education.”  

Helping Medway’s children achieve their full potential

Cllr Josie Iles, Medway Council’s Lead Member for Children’s Services, said: “Medway’s children and young people are at the heart of everything we do and I am pleased that they will once again be returning to the classroom in September. We understand this may have been an unsettling time for our youngest residents and I am proud of how well they have adapted to the changes and shown how resilient Medway’s young people are. I am pleased they will once again be able to learn and play with their friends within the school setting. We have supported schools throughout the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and we will continue to do so to ensure all of Medway’s young people receive the support they deserve. I would also like to congratulate those starting at one of the four universities in Medway over the coming weeks and wish them well with their studies. We are committed to ensuring all children and young people in Medway have the best start in life and achieve their full potential.”

New measures in place to welcome back all year groups

Katharine Sexton, Chair of Medway Educational Leaders Association and Head Teacher of St Michaels RC Primary School, said: “Schools across Medway have been supporting each other throughout the ongoing pandemic and Medway Council has continued to provide us with help and support. As a school we have been working hard to support our pupils and also to get new measures in place in time to welcome all year groups back to the classroom. It might seem a little different to pupils at first, but I have no doubt that our pupils will continue to adapt well to the changes we all face amidst the pandemic. Like other schools across Medway, we have contacted parents and pupils to let them know about the changes and these details can be found on our school website. We welcome all of our children and especially those starting this new academic year for the first time in their new schools.”

Back to school safely – information for parents

The government launched a back to school safely campaign to reassure parents and students that schools and colleges are ready for their return in September. Parents are encouraged to visit the government's website for information and practical guidance to help them plan for their children’s return to school.

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