Primary education

  1. Lockdown leaves Soho primary school at risk

    Local Democracy Reporting Service

    Soho Parish Primary School

    Soho Parish Primary, with 170 pupils, has stood in Great Windmill Street in the centre of London since 1884.

    It is the last of a number of schools that once existed in the West End district that has gone through phases of being bohemian, hedonistic and recently more gentrified.

    But the pandemic has since left the school “vulnerable” to running out of money.

    Its head teacher of three years, Louise Ritchie, explained many of the fundraising activities and events it relies on to break even have been cancelled.

    “Things are always difficult for us,” said Ms Ritchie. “We have a maximum of 26 children per class because it’s an old Victorian building. In fact the school was here before a lot of Soho built up around it.

    “Having smaller class sizes means the school gets less funding. We get £5,000 per pupil. So if every class is 26 pupils, rather than 30, that’s a lot of money to miss out on even though you’re paying the same number of teachers.”

    She said the school makes up for this by “doing a lot of fundraising”, although money has already been spent on buying 21 laptops for children to take part in home learning.

    A major source of revenue is its annual Soho Food Feast, which raises £45,000 a year through ticket sales with the help of Soho’s restaurant proprietors.

    “Loads of the local restaurants give their time and energy and ingredients for free. They make little portions for people to sample. The Ivy, Groucho and loads of others get involved", she said.

    Ms Ritchie added that they "don’t have any reserves, and operating with such precarious funding makes us very anxious".

    The school recently launched a Crowdfunder page ‘Save the only school in Soho’, where more than 200 people have so far donated £17,195. Its target is £85,000 by 7 August.

  2. Pupils return to school as parent confidence grows

    Local Democracy Reporting Service

    An increasing number of parents are having the confidence to send their children back to school, Suffolk County Council claimed.

    All of the county’s 45 secondary schools had places to offer to Year 10 and Year 12 pupils and 25% of students have returned.

    That equates to nearly 2,000 pupils back at school in some format, but many are part-time or attending for a handful of days instead of full-time due to lack of space.

    Suffolk County Council

    At primary school level, between 14% and 17% of Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 pupils returned from 1 June.

    That number has now doubled to reach more than a third of pupils in those year groups, the authority said.

    Mary Evans, cabinet member for education, said it was roughly in line with what it expected.

    "All Suffolk secondary schools are offering some provision to their students, with approximately 25% of students in Year 10 and Year 12 returning this week," she said.

    "This figure is rising as confidence from parents and carers grows."

  3. Video content

    Video caption: Coronavirus: Kedington mum wary of school return after virus 'fright'

    All seven members of her family, including five children, had coronavirus symptoms over six weeks.

  4. Video content

    Video caption: Coronavirus: Mums talk about school opening concerns

    As primary schools in England prepare to reopening two mums talk about their worries.

  5. Cornwall schools seeing about 1,000 pupils attending

    Martin Shaw

    BBC Radio Cornwall

    Figures from Cornwall Council show about half of the schools in the county are still open with about 1,000 pupils attending every day.

    There are 271 state-funded schools in the county.

    The council said academies were working with local authority schools to make sure the children of key workers and vulnerable pupils got the support they needed.

    Councillor Sally Hawken, cabinet member for children, public health and well-being, said staff were having to find new ways of working.

    Quote Message: Sometimes staff are in the actual school building and sometimes they're working from home. But they're all trying to ensure children and parents have the resources to do the schoolwork from home." from Councillor Sally Hawken Cornwall Council cabinet member for children, public health and well-being
    Councillor Sally HawkenCornwall Council cabinet member for children, public health and well-being
    Classroom
  6. Paint the whole world with a rainbow

    BBC Radio Suffolk

    Rainbows beautifully drawn by key workers' children are set to be placed in the windows of police and ambulance drivers' vehicles.

    The works of art were made by pupils at Place Farm Primary Academy in Haverhill, Suffolk.

    Crews working for the East of England Ambulance Service said they were "grateful for the kind messages".

    Photo of children with a rainbow
  7. Day 5 of home-schooling? Lecturer shares the 'dos and do nots'

    Home schooling

    A senior lecturer in education at the University of the West of England has shared his tips for successful home-schooling, as well as some of the pitfalls to avoid.

    Ben Wiggins is the leader of the Primary PGCE Teacher Training Programme at UWE Bristol. He is currently teaching his own eight-year-old daughter at home while in isolation.

    "Parents should concentrate on trying their best and if they are really struggling, to not be afraid to ask for help from the school," he says.

    ‘‘It’s important to remember that you’re not going to get this right straight away, so whatever happens, reflect on it and try something different the next day if things didn’t work."

    Some of Sirs top tips include:

    • Preparation: Try to know what it is you are going to be doing the next day - your day will flow better. Share the timetable with your child.
    • Structure: Establish a definitive start and end time to the day. Try to get your children to view this as ‘school time’. Plan in breaks and remember, the younger the child the shorter your teaching sessions need to be.
    • Play: If you have very young children remember to play with them too. You can also incorporate activities such as cooking, DIY and gardening.
    Children learning at home
    • Don’t try to do too much: get the difficult things out of the way early and leave afternoons for fun activities.
    • Try not to get cross if they don't understand: It is difficult to educate your own children because you are so invested in their progress. But learning takes time and is a messy process, so don’t worry if they don’t ‘get it’ first time.
    • Understanding: If your child doesn’t understand what you’re saying, don’t just repeat the same explanation louder and more slowly, try to think of another way.
    • Try not to criticise: Parents can get very defensive about the way they learned to do something, but teaching may have changed so try to be open minded.
  8. Roads around Streatham primary school to be closed

    Local Democracy Reporting Service

    Lambeth Council plans to permanently close roads around a Streatham primary school during morning and evening pick up and drop-offs.

    The move to shut streets around Immanuel and St Andrew CE primary school follows a trial between March and July after concerns were raised about road safety, rat-running and parking issues.

    Lambeth Council deputy leader with responsibility for Environment and Clean Air, Claire Holland, said: “Having timed road closures around the school’s immediate surroundings means that children travelling to school will breathe in less toxic air and be able to do so more safely.

    "It’s important that we act now and urgently to start making positive change and realise how harmful pollution is to people living in our borough and in London as a whole,’’ she said.

    While barriers are currently being used, the authority plans to use Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras from October.

    During certain times, access to the road will only be granted to blue badge holders and emergency vehicles.