This week is the week we have been waiting for and saw the welcome return of our final year group to the school. I am delighted to say that we must now be one of the only schools in London with every single year group back at school. We are now nearly at full capacity.
The majority of our pupils returned to great fanfare at the beginning of June as soon as we were able to bring back pupils.
We had worked hard to plan for their return, creating smaller ‘bubbles’ of children who would stay together during their time at school to minimise risk. Each class has a different lunchtime and playtime slot and can only mix within their ‘bubble’.
We had also, of course, implemented new social distancing and hygiene measures and we continue to take children’s temperatures as they enter school and remind them to wash and sanitise their hands regularly.
But, at that time, we were still unable to bring back our leaving year group – our Year 2 class – as under the then Government guidelines they were not one of the year groups formally allowed back.
Independent school organisations including the Independent Schools Council lobbied for this to change as leaving year groups in the independent sector are not confined to Year 6 children. At that point, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 were being allowed back only.
We were delighted to hear that this directive changed over the course of the month, enabling us to contact Year 2 parents and offer them the opportunity to return their children to school. We had previously imagined that all of their leaving celebrations were going to be online only which would have been a terrible shame.
Parents and children leapt at the news of this unexpected return as I know many of them had resigned themselves to not being able to return to The Mulberry House School for their final days with us.
On Monday, we celebrated the welcome return of all but two of the year group and we made sure we celebrated in style again with balloon arches to welcome them back to school after this extended absence.
I know that I speak for everyone at The Mulberry House School when I say that it is not a moment too soon and we are all tremendously relieved that almost all our entire student body is now back at school learning.
Parents will still receive a weekly call from their child’s class teacher to update them on progress as they are currently unable to come into the school. We are also offering timetables for suggested activities over the summer break to help all our children prepare for their next class as they have missed so much of this school year.
We are also thinking of all of those other children in London and beyond who are still unable to return to school. We are still loading our resources onto our YouTube channel for any parents who are looking for extra resources and we will continue to do our utmost to serve our local community as we have done throughout lockdown.
I am extremely proud of the staff and children at The Mulberry House School, some of whom were with us throughout the lockdown period as we stayed open for key worker children both from our own school and from other schools. We have also shared our physical resources – from masks made by our children and donated to the local community to yoga cards devised and made by our children and distributed locally to other children – and our virtual resources through online learning on our publicly available YouTube channel. I know that we will look back at this difficult period in our history and know that we pulled together for each other, for our families and for our community in north west London. Thank you!