Returning to School

As a retired Primary School teacher, I continue to have interest in educational developments but particularly during this time of crisis.
How to organise a return to learning while keeping children, their families and professionals safe is the current challenge.
I am aware that currently children of key workers and learners requiring a range of specific support are attending establishments.
Would it be manageable to allow all other learners to return, initially, for one day each week? Obviously, this could only work with groups of learners within each class attending on different days. Teachers will already have their class organised into differentiated learning groups and these groups could be the basis for organising which learners attend on which day. This would ensure that on any given day there would only be a maximum of 6 or 7 learners within each learning area with the teacher and therefore social distancing would be manageable.
This would allow teachers to have direct teaching time with each learner for one day every week and introduce differentiated learning intentions and success criteria through a range of challenges which would then be carried out at home during the remainder of the week.
Contact support as learners tackle these challenges at home could then be maintained using the technology available.
One important aspect of school life is contact with parents and this is often maintained at the beginning and end of the school day. At this time when social distancing is essential, normal arrangements would not be appropriate. To overcome this problem of many parents arriving at the school at the same time, a system of staggered arrivals and departures must be arranged.
A similar staggered arrangement would be required at lunch time, however this would be manageable as there would be less children within the establishment on any given day.
As the intensity of the virus declines, then the number of days each child attends could increase.
I am aware that this type of arrangement is probably already being considered but wanted to share my thoughts.
My experience is within a primary school setting and would not presume that this would be appropriate within other sectors.
Trevor Gray

Why the contribution is important

Children's continued progression through CfE experiences and outcomes and achieving national benchmarks is crucial. Underlying the values, purposes and principles of CfE is an understanding that children and young people approach their learning in an independent manner and apply learning appropriately across a range of interdisciplinary contexts. Consideration, therefore needs to be given to how practitioners organise the learning environment and experience to develop this level of independence, while keeping learners, families and professionals safe at this time.

by Musical1 on May 10, 2020 at 01:21PM

Current Rating

Average rating: 4.6
Based on: 12 votes


  • Posted by godboy19 May 10, 2020 at 13:29

    I agree. I think there is a danger in young children becoming disconnected with schools at this time.
  • Posted by bstrata May 10, 2020 at 13:29

    Excellent contribution Trevor. The return to school cannot be a binary flipping of a switch.

    The journey should start now and hopefully your thoughts are given serious consideration.
  • Posted by cbellat May 10, 2020 at 14:06

    I contributed a post yesterday:

    Stagger lunches, break times, allowing only those in that age group to be in contact with each other during the day.
    Assigned into small groups to work with throughout week, and those groups must distance from other groups. Utilising teaching assistants and support workers to do activities one day, and then do educational activities the following day .
    Prior to the school days starting, temperatures must be taken upon arrival. (Staggered starts and pick ups).
    Spending as much time outside in rural areas, as the weather permits.
    Utilise village halls and community spaces, if not enough classrooms
  • Posted by Pumpkin2017 May 10, 2020 at 14:07

    I agree this sounds a common sense approach. It would need to be as flexible as possible for each teacher to make the call on how it would work for their class. They will know their pupils. Same approach could be used in early years too.
    Even one day a week should be started as soon as is physically possible.
  • Posted by Shadikins May 10, 2020 at 14:49

    For me this is a priority, even if it is just one or two mornings per week per child. Both of my older children (nursery and P1) are really suffering not seeing friends or having some contact with the outside world. We are trying as best we can but ultimately children are not supposed to be made to live like this. My son in particular is having an anxiety response and I’m worried about their mental health. I am not talking about full time school for them. I just want their mental health to be considered.
  • Posted by hannah_smith May 10, 2020 at 20:25

    I think it's also prudent to not consider the summer holiday period as 'fixed' - given it's highly unlikely that families will be travelling, this time could be used to get teachers able to teach in new formats and to ease children into the school routine again.

    For the wider economy to get back to work in some sort of sense and contribute to our economic recovery, getting kids back to school is paramount.

    This teacher sounds very pragmatic and from these comments I would conclude that with discussion starting now, and staff being in schools to work out set-up over the summer, we could be in a situation where children could resume the quality education they need, and parents able to get back to other activity, within a reasonable time frame (if the health outcomes allow!!!!)
  • Posted by KSTEPHEN May 10, 2020 at 21:30

    One of the best comments on here. Very sensible and completely agree with another comment that there is a risk that children become disconnected from school.
      Even one day a week would be a start and I think this would motivate the children more and increase their social contact.
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