16 Jun 2020 03:28
Published by: Scott Callan

Children are delighted to be back at Greenbank Preparatory School after 10 weeks of remote learning… their parents are overjoyed too.

The award winning independent primary-age school in Cheadle Hulme has seen 95% of pupils return in Reception,  Year One, Year Five and Year Six and Greenbank plans to phase in Years Two, Three and Four before the end of term.

There has also been strong uptake for the school's day nursery and Pre School that reopened at the same time.

"Our aim" said Headmaster Malcolm Johnson, "is to give all our children the opportunity to come back to school before the end of term, primarily for their educational benefit but also for us to assess how our new methods work with a full school roll."

The school, which has won national awards for “Value for Money and 'ecological values’ reopened on June 1 with an 80% school roll, "but those numbers have increased as parents who have been understandably concerned, have seen the detail of our action plan and how it works in practice."

Greenbank, in conjunction with their Health and Safety partners Compliance Education, has been working on their action plan for reopening since lockdown began.

Classroom layouts have been redesigned to allow for the two metre rule; outdoor learning has been increased; there is a one-way system throughout the school; sanitizing stations are outside all rooms; there are information posters in classrooms, corridors and outside with the school symbol 'Banksbee', laying down the new rules for the younger ones on hand and respiratory hygiene and the teachershave been setting the example with only four allowed in the staff room at anyone time and new rules governing the use of lavatories for pupils and teachers..

MalcolmJohnson said: "The children have been fantastic: resilient, adaptable, independent, driven. Infact, they will tell you how to behave."

The return to school has also been welcomed by parents and teachers who have worked inpartnership to provide independent home school learning but know it can never replace face to face interaction.

Adam Dyson, Assistant Head and Year 5 teacher, what is seen as a key year group before the entrance exams in January next year, was a key part of the team developing and operating Greenbank's on line platform.

"Using Google Education and the school's new website, we ensured that every child in the school had face time with a teacher every day.

"It is important to ensure that young learners get the basics right from the start and do not have any early misconceptions across all subjects, whether in the core curriculum of Mathematics, English and Science or other areas such as Geography, History, RE and our PSHE.

"Working with parents and colleagues to timetable and deliver these remote meetings has obviously not been easy and it is much more effective to explain concepts face to face even if you are two metres away."

Parents are delighted too. Jane Chadwick, who has a son in Year 5, said: "Being a teacher has been very challenging, especially when both my husband and I have been working and I must admit we popped open a bottle of champagne on the last day of home learning."

"I was most worried about my son's lack of social interaction and how he missed his friends and I could see that any longer might be damaging."

The final word went to pupil Ava Frayne, aged 10, in Year 5, "My mum and dad taught me at home but they were not as good as Mr Dyson."

"Plus" said Charlie Booker, also aged 10 and in Year 5,  "there are so many distractions at home and you can’t talk to your friends. It’s great to back.”


CAPTIONS Greenbank Headmaster Malcolm Johnson ensures social distancing inside and outside the classroom. 





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