Everyone ‘pitched’ in to get pupils back to school

Just Regional
Jul 8, 2020 3 mins read

Children and parents were so keen to get back to one North Norfolk school that they pitched in to help – literally!  

The result is a marquee on the school playing field, which will be home to Aldborough Primary School’s Year 6 bubble. 

“When we first reopened there was understandable hesitancy from some parents, even though the children were keen to come back,” says Aldborough’s headteacher, Alison Read.  “But once things got settled there was huge interest – not only from the year groups that the government mandated to return (reception, Year 1 and Year 6) but also from the others. 

“Of course, we wanted to accommodate them, but there just wasn’t the room or the resources for an extra ‘bubble’ for another year group.”

What was needed was some thinking outside the box and one of the parents stepped up with the offer of a marquee and some portable toilets.

The parents of Toby, a child in Year 6, organised the marquee from Morton’s hire company, arranging for it to be pitched so that the children could move in this week, leaving their classroom free for Year 5 pupils.

Headteacher Alison Read (left) and Year 6 teacher Jill Morgan with some of the children outside the new marquee classroom.

“It’s meant we’ve been able to get more children into the school, and they are so excited,” said Mrs Read. “Honestly, I felt like Father Christmas when I told the parents and the children they could come back.  One parent literally jumped up and down for joy!”

Because of the pandemic, the children at Aldborough have missed lots of special events including a week away at a PGL activity centre.  To make up for some of those, the marquee will be the centre of a Festival Fortnight, where the educational activities will include lots of forest school experiences such as cooking on open fires, making rope swings, taking part in treasure hunts and film and photographic challenges. 

They can also look forward to a barbecue and a visit from an ice cream van.  The fortnight will culminate in a dramatic and colourful leavers’ assembly, created by the Year 6 children (with the help of their teachers) and filmed so their parents can enjoy the fun, too.

But Year 6 teacher Jill Morgan stressed: “They’ll have to earn their fun!  We’ve just been working on Shakespeare’s The Tempest, so we will be building on that in English and history.  Then there will be some tricky maths investigations, a science project or two…  plus, we’ll be carrying on preparing for High School next year.  The time will fly by!”

And Mrs Read said she hoped the experience would be something which would stay with children in a good way.

“The last half term of primary school is a really special time for Year 6 and coronavirus has spoilt it for children across the UK,” she said.  “I hope that what we’re doing now will be something that these children remember all their lives.  I can’t tell you how grateful we are to Morton’s and to the Friends of Aldborough School, who have funded all the special extras we have needed for the Festival Fortnight.” 

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