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Headteacher hails school’s ‘buzz’ as pupils return

PUBLISHED: 16:49 03 June 2020 | UPDATED: 16:49 03 June 2020

Astley Primary School in Briston. Picture: Ian Burt/Astley Primary School

Astley Primary School in Briston. Picture: Ian Burt/Astley Primary School

Ian Burt/Astley Primary School

A north Norfolk headteacher has praised pupils’ spirit as they return to classrooms amid the lockdown easing.

Jen Goakes, headteacher of Astley Primary School. Picture: Astley Primary SchoolJen Goakes, headteacher of Astley Primary School. Picture: Astley Primary School

Jen Goakes, headteacher of Astley Primary in Briston, welcomed back 45 children from years one, two and six on June 1, along with key workers’ children.

Mrs Goakes said: “The first day was brilliant – it was so fantastic to see the children’s faces in the morning.

“They were really happy to be back and getting a feel for school again. The buzz around school was great – the children got absolutely stuck in and it felt like they had never been away.

“The children have responded very quickly and have surprised us all I think at how quickly they have adapted.”

Some year 1, 2 and 6  pupils returned to Astley Primary, in North Norfolk. Picture: Astley Primary
Some year 1, 2 and 6 pupils returned to Astley Primary, in North Norfolk. Picture: Astley Primary

The government wanted schools to start to reopen on June 1 for reception, year one and year six pupils, but some councils and schools have refused, saying it is not safe.

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In Norfolk, the county council has left it to headteachers to decide.

The school carried out risk assessments specific to their classrooms. They were set up for social distancing, introducing a one-way system around the school and limited the use of communal areas.

Some year 1, 2 and 6  pupils returned to Astley Primary, in North Norfolk. Picture: Astley Primary
Some year 1, 2 and 6 pupils returned to Astley Primary, in North Norfolk. Picture: Astley Primary

The headteacher praised her staff for all their hard work. She said: “The team have been amazing. As with anything in school this is a team effort now more than ever.

“I am very lucky to have such a hardworking and resilient staff, who even among natural concerns, still go above and beyond for the families of Astley.”

Mrs Goakes said the school prided itself on its sense of community. During lockdown pupils created a rainbow railing for the town and staff lip-synced to the Friends theme song, I’ll Be There For You, sung by The Rembrandts.

Mrs Goakes said the atmosphere had been positive despite their being fewer children.

Some year 1, 2 and 6  pupils returned to Astley Primary, in North Norfolk. Picture: Astley PrimarySome year 1, 2 and 6 pupils returned to Astley Primary, in North Norfolk. Picture: Astley Primary

She said: “It’s a happy one. It’s full of the best sounds of children laughing, playing and learning again. It feels exactly the same as it did before - a true school spirit but just a bit quieter.”

More than 213 of the school’s children learning are still learning from home.


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