A FORDINGBRIDGE head teacher says the wellbeing of children and families will be a “number one priority”.

The executive head teacher of Fordingbridge Infant and Junior Schools Federation, Kim Robertson, will be welcoming pupils back to the schools tomorrow (Friday, September 4) but has raised concerns over the impact of the furlough scheme ending for families.

She said: “The wellbeing of families and the children is priority number one when we return. A lot could have happened during the summer holidays and could still happen after the summer holidays which could make them need extra support.”

Mrs Robertson is urging parents who may need extra support to come forward as there are options that can be looked at including pupil premium support and free school meals.

“We will do all we can to help them,” she added. “We can do a few things, we can’t right the world, but we can get some disadvantaged support.”

“That is what we are about as a federation.We are there to look after the community and our families are the community and if one is hurting we will all club together and help," said Mrs Robertson.

“I would definitely encourage parents if their financial situation has changed to please let us know.”

The schools have remained open for the children of key workers while others have continued their schooling online so many of the precautions were already in place when preparations started over the summer to welcome back all pupils.

When pupils return there will be a few changes. There will be “staggered” start times, pick-ups, breaks and lunchtimes.

Years R and 1 will be put into “group bubbles” and Years 2 to 6 will be put into “class bubbles”. Desks will now face forward and to minimise the risk of cross contamination the children will have access to their own toilet blocks.

The school hall will no longer be used as a communal area and children will eat lunch in the classroom. Assemblies will be done virtually and outdoor learning will be encouraged.

Mrs Robertson said: “We are very excited to have them all back in on Friday.”

“We have got everything in place. We are ready,” she added. “We will try and be as normal as possible with all the precautions in place so that we are Covid secure but also a be warm, welcoming environment for the children and the families.

“We have done whatever we can to make sure parents are reassured and the children are happy. That is what we have done all the way through to include the parents and give them as much information so they feel part of what is going on.”

Mrs Robertson said there was “lots of catch up to do with some children” but teachers would be assessing work and putting a strategy together.

“It means everything [to get all the children back to school]. That is what we love to do, we love to be with the children and teaching them and like to work with the community and families. That is why we do what do,” she added.

“I just want the children in. My teachers and support staff want the children in. We want to reconnect with those families again.”