Outwood Academy Portland headteacher ‘confident’ after first day of school reopening

The headteacher of Outwood Academy Portland says he is confident about reopening the school under Covid-safe guidelines after welcoming Year 7s back today (Wednesday).

Thursday, 3rd September 2020, 7:11 am

Godsway Dzoboku told how after ‘a lot of planning’ Portland had introduced a number of safety restrictions to prevent the spread of the virus.

Though the rest of the school’s pupils - years 8-11 - are returning tomorrow (Thursday) the school trialled its new safety measures on Year 7s today.

Procedures include designated corridors for each year and staggered breaks and lunches.

Outwood Academy Portland headteacher Godsway Dzoboku

The headteacher told how each year - comprising 300 students - would act as a large bubble.

And though face masks were not compulsory inside the school any students who were anxious about safety would be allowed to wear one on school grounds.

Gosdway added: “If it makes them feel safer we’re happy to accommodate masks - just to get children through the door.”

With a 97 per cent attendance rate today Godsway - a teacher since 2006 - said: “I’m confident looking at what we’ve seen today that it will all be okay.

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“We really want all the students in school so whatever it takes we’ll do it.

“When students arrive they come in separate buses for each year group and wait in specific areas for their year group – then at the end of each day we have staggered departure times.”

Speaking about the large, whole-year group bubbles the headteacher said it wasn’t possible to have smaller groups and continue to operate.

Meanwhile Nottinghamshire County Council say they are working hard to ensure sufficient capacity on school transport with commercial providers - as well as contracting extra coaches.

The council is urging parents to encourage their children to walk or cycle or to school wherever possible and even consider leaving their cars at home when accompanying them to school.

Councillor Philip Owen said: “The safety and wellbeing of Nottinghamshire’s children, young people, families and staff is our priority - it’s vital that children and their parents and carers feel supported and ready to return.”

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