SECONDARY schools across East Sussex are welcoming back more students with a range of measures in place to ensure they can come back to the classroom safely. 

Huge efforts are also continuing behind the scenes to keep remote learning going during the pandemic.

The Government closed all schools in March to stem the spread of the deadly Covid-19 virus, with the exception of children considered vulnerable and those with keyworker parents.

Signage, two metre markings, one-way systems, social distancing in classrooms, smaller class groups and limiting the number of pupils on site at one time are just some of the measures schools are taking to reinstate face-to-face learning for pupils in year 10 and 12.

But while lockdown has kept many pupils away from school, there has been no let-up in their learning or the innovative way schools have kept their school communities together and their pupils engaged.

Cllr Bob Standley, East Sussex County Council’s lead member for education, said: “I have been amazed by how schools across the county have responded to these unprecedented challenges. Their dedication and commitment to their students has been fantastic.”

He said it was right that students in Years 10 and 12 should be prioritised adding:  “This is not business as normal, but it is providing these year groups with a face-to-face contact with their teachers to support their distance learning. These are pupils going into their final year for GCSE and A-Level exams and it’s so important we help them keep up the momentum with their learning.”

It’s a matter of new signage, one-way systems and social distancing at Uplands Community College in Wadhurst.

Principal Justine Mountford said: “I am so proud of all the staff who have worked so very hard, not just to get the school set up for pupils to come back safely, but also how they have kept the school operating for the children of key workers, and delivered such effective remote learning. It has been a huge task.

“I know how excited the staff have been to see the students again, and pupils are obviously so pleased to be able to ask their teachers questions face-to-face and to know they’re on the right track.”

While secondary schools are welcoming back a limited number of students, much of secondary learning continues to be done virtually. 

Schools across the county have been getting innovative in the way they have engaged with pupils and their families. It’s not possible to detail everything that all schools have been doing, but here are a couple of examples:

Cllr Standley said: “I want to thank everyone involved in this immense effort across the county to continue the learning and education of our young people. The range of projects and initiatives schools have come up with to encourage, motivate and involve their students and their families has been staggering.”