Calls to revive enthusiam for education before making up for lost term time

Reviving enthusiasm for education is the key to making up for lost school time says a city education leader.

As schools across Leeds reopen today after a hasty shut down at the beginning of the year, the chair of the GORSE Academies Trust told the Yorkshire Evening Post that the main focus between now and Easter was to "be happy, safe and engaged".

Peter Gruen, chair of the GORSE trust, and also the ward councillor for Crossgates and Whinmoor, said: "We have decided that for the period up to Easter, our first objective is to let everyone settle back into school routines, meet and greet and spend time with their class mates, shrug off the rustiness and disappointments of the last year and revive their enthusiasm and love of school. Let’s be happy, safe and engaged and the learning and catch-up will come along."

It follows a hectic week where the trust's 11 Leeds academies, as well as the other schools across the city, made preparations to welcome pupils back to class-rooms.

"Revive enthusiasm for education" says academy trust leader.

He added: "First and overriding everything else; we are all very excited to welcome all pupils back into school. The signs are that parents and children/students right across the age range cannot wait to see friends, teachers and familiar surroundings. Let’s go.

"The pace of preparations has really accelerated this last ten days. Many people do not fully realise all that is required by the new guidance. Every Academy has updated its Risk Assessments to cover every class room, teaching spaces, circulating areas, inside and external spaces, entries and exits, waiting areas for parents and children, and the walking routes around school.

"For 11-16 settings, the first week back needs to execute all the planning for testing. Three tests are required for every pupil and we need to know who has agreed to be tested and who has not. This is a huge logistical exercise matching people (testers), pupils, spaces for queuing, testing and then waiting for the results. It requires staggered start times and precise timings to get through all the required testing."

According to an Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) survey, Nearly a third of concerned parents think it will take at least a school year for their child to recover learning lost during the pandemic.

However, the report also revealed that parents are now far more confident about the return to school than they were before the summer holidays.

The survey, of 5,858 parents of school-aged children in England between February and March, suggests that 89 per cent would send their child back to class on Monday - even if the return was optional. This compares with just 65 per cent of families during the staggered return last summer.

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