Thrapston teddy bears star in back-to-school assembly

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image copyrightThrapston Primary School
image captionEach "very special bear... represents you", the head teacher told the children

A primary school is welcoming back its pupils with a special assembly - consisting entirely of teddy bears.

More than 500 well-behaved toys were filmed sitting in the hall at Thrapston Primary School in Northamptonshire.

Paid for from Parent Teacher Association funds, each bear has been given a bib with the school crest and the name of a pupil or teacher.

The video was posted on the school website with a welcome back message from the head teacher for Monday.

All school children in England can go back to classes from Monday, following extended periods of home-learning during the coronavirus pandemic.

Head teacher Pauline Turner said staff realised some of Thrapston Primary's pupils might be excited, while others a little nervous about the prospect.

Having seen a similar assembly held elsewhere, staff decided a mass gathering of teddy bears would be a good way to welcome all their children back to the fold.

A bear has been made and personalised with the name of each of the school's 490 pupils aged from three to 11, and also for each member of staff - both teaching and non-teaching.

image copyrightThrapston Primary School
image captionMore than 500 bears lined up quietly for the welcome-back assembly video
image copyrightThrapston Primary School
image captionThere is a bear for each member of teaching and non-teaching staff as well

Staff lined the bears up neatly in their class groups and posted a video on the website and Facebook, which has now been seen by more than 8,000 people.

"We thought maybe 200 people would see it, but it's been amazing and the response has been so positive from parents and pupils," said Mrs Turner.

image copyrightThrapston Primary School
image captionPupils (front) who have been attending school during lockdown have already been given their bears
image copyrightThrapston Primary School
image captionOther bears are waiting patiently to hug their new owner in class on Monday

The video features uplifting lyrics from The Script's song Hall of Fame - "You can be the greatest, you can be the best" - and after, Mrs Turner tells the children and parents how well they have done and how proud the school is of all its pupils.

"More than 20% of our pupils have been in school during lockdown, but we know some of those at home might be a bit nervous about coming back," Mrs Turner said.

The bears have now been placed on each child's desk in their classrooms ready for back-to-school day on Monday.

"Sometimes an anxious child might need a hug, and we can't do that, but their bear will be there for a hug if they feel a bit wobbly," she added.

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