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Bridgnorth school welcomes back pupils after virus closure

By Rory Smith | Bridgnorth | Education | Published:

Another school in Shropshire has welcomed back pupils for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began.

Year 10 students socially distancing as they line up for their lessons on their first day back at Oldbury Wells School

Oldbury Wells School in Bridgnorth opened its doors to year 10 and 12 students following the government's direction for those groups to attend school.

Lisa Thomas, principal deputy, said virtual lessons lacked the "personal interaction" needed to teach, and welcomed the move to bring back a percentage of students.

"It has been wonderful to see our pupils face to face," Mrs Thomas said.

Year 10 students back at Oldbury Wells School

"During shutdown, our staff have worked very hard to ensure that pupils are given decent work every day, following the proper timetable.

"A virtual lesson lacks the personal interaction and discussion that a classroom brings.

"It is the face-to-face aspect of schooling that we have all missed."

With many families across the country still hesitant to send their children back to school, turnout at Oldbury was comparatively high, with 80 per cent for year 10 and 88 per cent for year 12 throughout the first week.

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Year 10 students back at Oldbury Wells School

Jamie White, assistant headteacher, put the high attendance down to students wanting to excel in upcoming exams and confidence in the safety of smaller-sized classes.

Mr White added: "We felt it was so important to get the pupils back into school now that we are allowed to.

"It can be an isolating experience for young people to work from home for so long.

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"We are very aware that some pupils returning will need some support to adjust and we are ready to give them the help they might need."

The Prime Minister has announced his intention to fully reopen schools in September, but the regulations and instructions for secondary schools have not yet been published.

Sarah Godden, headteacher of Oldbury and CEO of the TrustEd Schools' Partnership, said: "We await the government's instructions for what they want us to do in September.

Sarah Godden, headteacher of Oldbury Wells School and CEO of the TrustEd Schools' Partnership

"Pupils, parents and staff will probably all agree, that as soon as we can do it safely, then we should return to classroom teaching.

"All of the schools in our trust have opened as requested in line with national expectations over recent weeks.

The TrustEd Schools' Partnership is made up of four primaries – Alveley Primary, Castlefields Primary, St Leonard's CE School and Stokesay School – and two secondaries, Oldbury Wells and Church Stretton.

Church Stretton School similarly opened its doors to more than 80 per cent of its year 10 pupils.

Rory Smith

By Rory Smith
Reporter - @rorysmith_star

Senior reporter based at the Shropshire Star's head office in Ketley, Telford.

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