Schools across Sheffield have returned TODAY to face-to-face education for the first time in months

“The best place for our children” – as part of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s roadmap, schools across Sheffield have returned to full-time face-to-face teaching for the first time in months.

Monday, 8th March 2021, 11:16 am

For thousands of families, today marked the end of months of homeschooling – a phenomena not expected, but one that quickly became normality.

Only children of key workers and those that were vulnerable were able to physically attend school until today, March 8.

Having them out of the classroom ‘is not the same’, said one headteacher, whilst another school is trying its hardest to make the return as easy and comfortable for the children as possible.

Schools in Sheffield open again to pupils on March 8 after lockdown. Valley Park Primary on Norton Avenue. Year 4 pupils in the classroom. Picture: Chris Etchells

The head of Yewlands Academy in Grenoside, Andy Kelly, said: “I’m delighted, I’m really proud of the determination and the resilience that the young people have shown in this kind of latest national lockdown because actually, they’ve been incredible, and they’ve really shown some quality work.

“We want our children back as soon as possible. We’ve missed them; the building is so quiet.

“You come into this job because you love working with young people, and my staff love working with young people, but it’s just not the same speaking to them through a computer screen.”

Valley Park Primary on Norton Avenue realised that some of the children may have anxiety about returning after so long away so launched a ‘special’ back to school event to help ease pupils back in to the routine.

This included dressing up in fancy dress, balloons, mascots and bubble machines.

As well as making sure pupils and staff are safe, it is also important for schools to make sure the social anxieties that may have arose from lockdowns are dealt with.

Councillor Abtisam Mohamed, cabinet member for education and skills at Sheffield City Council, said: “It is great news that pupils will return to the classroom, I know everybody in the school community cannot wait to welcome them back.

“Being in school is the best place for our children socially, academically and for their health and wellbeing; but I know that some pupils who have not been in school for a long time may feel worried about going back.

"I want to reassure our young people and their families that schools are working hard to do all they can to ensure your return is as safe as possible. If anyone has any concerns, no matter how big or small, I urge them to get in touch with their school as soon as they can.

“As we move into this next phase, I’d like to give a heartfelt thanks to parents, carers, teachers, and school staff who have gone above and beyond over the last few months to support our children through such a difficult time.

"From juggling jobs and home - schooling to keeping schools open for our key workers and most vulnerable children – your unwavering commitment has kept our young people safe and well

See our special report on homeschooling and the return to school in this week’s Sheffield Telegraph, out March 11.