Year 12 students are back in the classroom at Tollbar MAT Sixth Form College practising social distancing.
Year 12 students returned to college last week for some face-to-face contact with teachers, and at Tollbar MAT Sixth Form College students 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 percentage of Year 10 students at Tollbar Academy are also 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 Tollbar have been working hard throughout this period, supporting and teaching the students 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 Year 10 and 12 are definitely a step in the right direction. Caroline Yates, Principal of Tollbar Academy, said teachers were consulted and trained before students returned to the classroom, to ensure the safety of both staff and students.
“The students' response to this crisis has been phenomenal,” said Mrs Yates. “Our Sixth Form students have their own learning platform and have been completing their work through direct emails and daily support. But 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 Years 10 and 12 how much they have missed this.
“Some students have been anxious about their education and also their safety while in lockdown, but seeing them face to face we have been able tor reassure them about both, and you can see the weight lift from their shoulders.”
David Hampson, Chief Executive of Tollbar Multi Academy Trust, is delighted that all children may be back in the classrooms 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.
All students are taught in clusters (bubbles) to promote safety.
A safer one-way system in corridors is clearly sign-posted.
Indoor and outdoor sanitising stations for all students and staff.