Children defy rules to return to school

While arguments rage over when children should return to class, one group of pupils are determined not to let coronavirus spoil their last term at primary school.

Wednesday, 10th June 2020, 2:36 pm
Updated Thursday, 11th June 2020, 9:16 am
Gateway Academy deputy head girl Aliyah Ahmed

The year sixes at Gateway Community Academy in Blackpool are back in class, and making the most of it.

The return to school marked a double first for some of the year six, who were part of the first reception cohort to enter the doors at Gateway Academy back in September 2014 when it first opened.

Now they are among the first to leave and headteacher Sue Robinson said a lot of careful planning had gone into making sure the pupils were able to finish their primary days in style.

Aliyah Ahmed on her first day as one of the first reception class pupils at the new Blackpool Gateway Academy

She said: "We were truly amazed to welcome back so many of the year six pupils. I was apprehensive at first to invite them as one of the few year groups back to school, as it felt that many would not wish to return and may have been more keen to apply their thoughts to moving to high school, naturally.

I thought they had forgotten about us after all this time ."

But , the youngsters proved that wasn't case as they walked through the doors looking proud, smart and as though they had really missed the school and its staff.

A survey in previous weeks had revealed that a large number of the year sixes children were considering returning and on the first day nearly 60 per cent of the entire cohort had decided to ditche the home shcooling and go back to their teachers.

Teejay Turton is glad to be back in class at Blackpool Gateway Academy

Sue added: "As we greeted the children to the ‘new normal’ at Gateway Academy, it was clear that many felt a little worried and anxious but the amazing team in school provided all the nurture they needed to help them feel settled and welcome.

"The benefits of seeing their friends again and having a chance to see familiar staff faces was immeasurable and the staff team and I feel privileged to get to spend the next few weeks together.

"We will hopefully now be able to provide a positive and memorable end to their special school days at primary school and particularly Gateway Academy."

Here is what some of year 6 pupils had to say:

Deputy head girl Aliyah Ahmed had an "amazing" first day and said:

"I felt nervous about going back to school as I didn't know what to expect, but once I was at school everyone was very helpful and made sure we were all OK.

" I knew that I had to build my resilience and prove to myself that I can do it as I didn't want to regret not saying goodbye to all the teachers and my friends before going to Armfield Academy.

"I was worried about my safety and whether I would enjoy being in a different class but once I was there I was happy seeing everyone again especially my teacher as I missed her a lot.

Social distancing needed some getting used to but she said: "It was hard to not hug my friends and mix with other bubbles, but it is for everyone's safety."

"My first day was amazing. We bonded as a bubble family and we had fun. Mrs Robinson made time to speak to me even though she was very busy to make sure I was OK. This made me very happy."

"I am proud to be one of the first children to be graduating from Blackpool Gateway Academy as we are making history for many years to come. I remember watching the school being built and wondering when I would be going through the big gates and now I am deputy head girl and I am proud to represent the school."

Teejay Turton - 6B added: "Going back to school is pretty good because I’ve not seen my friends in a while.

I was Ok about social distancing because it keeps us safe and we have our own space and resources.

" I enjoyed it my first day as we did maths and I got to play football with my friends.

"I am excited about being in the first class to graduate from year 6 at Gateway Academy but I also feel nervous about high school. "