Bexley schools are starting to return

Cllr John Fuller, Cabinet Member for Education, writes about the phased re-opening of the Borough’s schools

The impact of coronavirus has been felt across our entire lives, whether having to stay at home or events being cancelled. But one of the biggest impact has been on education.

Since March, schools have been closed to all but the children of key workers, and those who need our help and support.

The impact on children has been immense – as it has been on parents and carers who have suddenly had to become home tutors – and learned a new respect for the work our teachers do!

Children aren’t just missing out on vital school work, they are missing seeing their friends and all the other activities of school life.

I don’t know what the longer term impact of COVID19 will be on their lives but the sooner we can return to as normal a life as possible the better for all of us.

I want to thank all schools and teachers for the way they quickly set up online lessons, and kept in contact with their pupils over the last two and a half months, and will continue to do so in the coming weeks.

Its not just the online lessons, or phone calls to pupils – we’ve seen school staff making videos to cheer children up and teachers reading books over the internet.

This week has been an important one, with the first stage of the phased re-opening of our schools, in line with Government guidance.

As far as Bexley is concerned, we now have 81 of our schools open.

On Monday there were 1,176 pupils in attendance, and here at the end of the week there are 2,146.

I know from speaking to headteachers, school staff and the Council’s education teams of the huge amount of work that schools have been doing to make this possible, changes that have seen entire school learning areas redesigned to ensure social distancing and staggered opening and closing times introduced.

Its a long way from returning to normal, but it is an important step on that journey.

We all salute this huge effort by schools, teachers, parents and pupils. It is a shining example of what our community in Bexley is like, looking out for each other, helping those in need of our help as one community, our community.

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