Border pupils face different timetables for school return

Parents from two adjoining villages are facing different timetables for their children returning to school after lockdown.

Jen Park,10, and James Park, 12, from Porthywaen, Oswestry
Jen Park,10, and James Park, 12, from Porthywaen, Oswestry

Pant and Llanymynech, just outside Oswestry, each have a primary school, Bryn Offa, in Pant and Carreghofa in Llanymynech.

But because one is in England and the other is in Wales, they are at different stages in getting pupils back into the classrooms.

Staff at Carreghofa are expecting a return of others who are aged seven and under this week, starting tomorrow, while at Bryn Offa the return is not expected to begin until March 8.

Both have continued to welcome key worker children throughout the lockdown and parents with children at both schools are full of praise for the way the staff have dealt with the past year.

Jen Park, 10, has been going into Bryn Offa two days a week and brother, James, 12, to the Marches as their mother, Les, is an NHS worker based at the Cambrian Health Centre in Oswestry.

She said she and husband, Graham had assessed the risks of them being in school.

“The health and safety at Bryn Offa has been second to none,” she said.

Bryn Offa C of E School in Pant (England)

“Actually being in the classroom has been good for them as it gives them routine and I think everyone would agree that home schooling is not easy.

“I am happy to wait for the experts to guide the timetable for going back full time, when they believe it is safe. I do think that those who work with the children should be able to have their vaccine as we know children can spread the virus.”

Jenny Wildman lives on the English side but her children, Owen and Joshua go to Carreghofa.

“Having access to school as a critical worker has been worth its weight in gold. Our youngest, Owen, is looking forward to going back full time and Joshua will continue part time,” she said.

Melanie Maddox said: “Carreghofa Primary School has been fantastic throughout the pandemic, the children’s safety and wellbeing has been paramount.

Jen Park, 10, and James Park, 12, from Porthywaen, Oswestry

"As a key worker my son has attended on the days I work and this has been invaluable as I chose for him not to attend any hubs.

"Distance learning has been challenging with working from home but the school has had good communication and has always asked parents for feedback regarding distance learning.”

Denise Stephenson lives in Wales but her children go to Bryn Offa in Shropshire. However as both parents are key workers the children have continued to remain in school and she said the staff had been great.

She said: “We live in Wales but we are also both keyworkers so the impact has been huge.”

Carreghofa School in Llanymynech

Lisa Hitch’s daughter goes to Bryn Offa although the family live across the Welsh border. She said: “The staff have been outstanding through the pandemic with their communication and protecting of staff and children.

“As we’re not key workers my daughter has been learning at home from work set on the class homepage, which has been fab, easy to access and engaging.

“Obviously I’d like my daughter to go back to class learning, but the timing has to be right for everyone with the vaccination rollout, so she goes back when it’s safe to do so.

"Personally I’d like for the teachers to be vaccinated for their safety first.”

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