Peterborough’s education chief says city’s schools are safe and ready for pupils’ return

Jonathan Lewis, service director for Education for PCC and CCC.

Schools across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough schools set to welcome back pupils after an ‘academic year like no other’

School and college leaders across the region have said they are ready to begin welcoming back pupils across all year groups in September, with teachers saying they ‘can’t wait to see pupils again for the first time in many months’.

Over the summer, schools in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough were asked to work through rigorous and detailed risk assessments, individual to their own school environment and circumstances, as well as clarifying how they could meet the ‘System of Controls’ – steps set out by government which a school must follow to minimise the number of contacts a pupil has during a school day.

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Having worked through the assessments and implemented the necessary measures to ensure adequate cleaning and ‘social bubbles’ can be adhered to, school and local authority leads say they are confident the region’s schools are safe spaces, and are hoping parents and children are excited and ready to come back.

Jonathan Lewis, Director of Education at Cambridgeshire County and Peterborough City Council, said, “Most of our schools remained open throughout lockdown, so we have a lot of working knowledge and experience of how to make schools safe spaces.

“We know this is a moving picture, but the peer-to-peer support I have seen from our schools, academies, diocese leaders and indeed parents through this pandemic has been nothing short of incredible.

“We will continue to monitor the situation and adapt as we need to, together. Each school is unique, but each one is safe. Schools have been contacting parents to let them know of their reopening plans.

“The cognitive and social benefits of formal education for our young people have been well documented and publicly discussed, and I am so, so pleased we are ready to welcome back our children to safe environments where they can learn, develop and flourish. I echo the sentiments of my education colleagues – we can’t wait to have you back’.

Councillor Simon Bywater, Chairman of the Children and Young People Committee for Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “Even as little as six months ago we could not have predicted just how much of an impact this pandemic would have on how we educate our children. With very little warning our schools had to adapt to accommodate vulnerable children and those of key workers, and many parents have had to provide the role of ‘teacher’, alongside being mum or dad. The way parents and school leaders have stepped up has been phenomenal, and I cannot thank them enough for everything they have done to ensure our children have been able to continue learning. Your efforts have not gone unnoticed.”

Councillor Lynne Ayres, Cabinet Member for Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Education, Skills and the University, said: “Our education leaders have been giving 100% the whole way through this pandemic, and there was never a doubt they would be well-prepared and ready to welcome back pupils in September.

“I want our parents to feel confident that their children will be safe, and every aspect of their welfare considered while they are in a school environment. Welcome back.”

Peterborough Telegraph