Schools grapple with restrictions as local Years 10 and 12 return

secondary schools reopen
Secondary schools are still open for children of key workers

ONLY a quarter of a year group will be able to attend Lymington’s Priestlands School for classes at any one time when it reopens its doors to Year 10 students next week.


Head teacher Peter Main told the A&T: “Sadly we just do not have the room to safely manage more than that.

“Normally we would have 32 students in some of the core subject classrooms. Now it will be nine, sat at desks two metres apart.”

The measures are among tough restrictions secondary schools in the area are facing for the return of Year 10 and 12 students next week. Like many, Priestlands has remained open for about 60 children of key workers.

The new regulations mean that for Priestlands’ Year 10, which has 240 pupils, attendance will be for four days, spaced out over sessions, until the end of the summer term.

Mr Main said: “Our students have been coping brilliantly with schoolwork at home. But to be able to have that contact will obviously benefit them.

“They will have good quality sessions in all their subjects with double sessions in their core subjects.”

Mr Main felt the students would also enjoy having contact with others in their separate ‘bubbles’, saying: “I think they are all looking forward to that.”

All the students have been able to view a video online which shows them what to expect when they return to school, such as social distancing measures.

Mr Main said: “Along with Year 10 coming into school we will continue with the online learning resources we have been using since lockdown happened.”

At Arnewood School in New Milton, teachers are anticipating 85% of Year 10 returning, with no more than nine in a class.

Head teacher Nigel Pressnell said: “Sixth form Year 12 students will also be back from Monday, with social distancing measures in place.

“Opening and closing times have been staggered and returning students will attend one day a week.”

He said the school had faced “quite a logistical challenge” to prepare for the return of students with social distancing, one-way systems, handwashing stations and extra daily cleaning.

He said: “The teaching offered to the returning students is to supplement the online learning which will continue. The vast majority of our students won’t be back in school until September and our staff are continuing to teach them remotely.”

At Hounsdown School in Totton, Year 10s will attend on a rota with a limited timetable in place. An online Zoom session with tutors was held this week so that students could ask about what they could expect when they return.

In line with other schools, they will be taught in bubbles, maintain social distancing and have to regularly wash hands. There will be no sharing of equipment, and the school will be cleaned thoroughly at the end of each day.

They are also advised to wash clothes daily or hang them by an open window when they get home. Students must provide their own food and drink and remain within their bubbles during break times.

At Twynham School in Christchurch, hand sanitiser will be available in each classroom and shared rooms, such as halls and dining areas, will be cleaned after each use. Teachers and students must also wipe all surfaces they have been using, including desks and chairs.