Tim Farrer, headteacher of Shaftesbury School, talks on The Alfred Daily about the challenges his team has addressed as they prepare to welcome back more pupils.
“It’s going to be hard work, we’re certainly not at the end of the road yet,” said Tim. He understands that pupils will face a range of emotions on their return – from excitement to anxiety.
Staff will feel the same. He says some school employees are, ‘delighted to be back, glad to be coming into work and feeling as if they are making more of a difference’, but some staff, ‘haven’t left the house during the lockdown and are very anxious about returning’.
Tim discusses which year groups will return, when that will be, how their working days will change and how many children he expects will remain at home. He also talks about the educational provision for kids not wishing to return to the classroom.
A range of new safety measures is in place. Pupils and staff will notice significant changes from the moment they enter the building. Tim talks about altered toilet arrangements, new classroom layouts and lunch facilities.
He is proud that Shaftesbury School has remained open during the last ten weeks for some pupils, including the children of key workers. At the start of lockdown, Tim guaranteed that parents who required support with free school lunches for their children would receive that help. He says he has honoured his promise.
Looking after international boarding pupils brings an additional dimension to the school’s challenge, as Tim explains. He also talks about future changes. “I doubt whether all year groups will be in school from September,” he said, and he speculates that schools will be asked to decide which subjects pupils follow for the next school year. Tim has strong views on this.
You can listen on Thursday’s Alfred Daily. Tim’s extended interview is at 19:48.