School’s back - but Shirebrook headteacher warns that normality is still many months away

The headteacher of a Shirebrook school says it will take many months for things to get back up and running properly after he and his staff welcomed students back to the classroom.

By Katrina Taylor
Thursday, 11th March 2021, 4:06 pm
Updated Thursday, 11th March 2021, 4:07 pm

Mark Cottingham, principal of Shirebrook Academy, described seeing teaching taking place again as ‘a welcome sight’ after its full complement of 850 students returned to school this week.

It was the first time more than 100 pupils have been in the school together since the Government imposed a third lockdown at the beginning of the year, with everybody being offered a coronavirus test before they were allowed back into lessons and asked to observe social distancing measures.

Mr Cottingham said that this week’s testing has gone smoothly – there have been no positive results for Covid-19 – but he said there is still a long way for the academy to go before things return to how they were, with many lessons, extra-curricular activities, school trips and community events still firmly off the agenda.

Shirebrook Academy student Alexia Cordon takes her Covid-19 test this week after the school welcomed back pupils – but they warned it will be many months before the school is back to normal.

He said: “It was such a welcome sight to see students back so that we can rebuild the school community, find out how much they have learnt over the last few weeks and put everything in place for our Year 11s’ assessments, which will take place between now and June.

“The testing has gone extremely smoothly and we will take another step back towards normality when we stop having to administer the tests in school next week, but it will probably still be very many months until the school is properly back up and running.

“It’s incredible to think about all the activities we do that are still not possible, or the fact that our PE provision is limited, we can’t do science practicals and it’s unlikely that we will be having a leaver’s event this year.

“In that respect, there is a sense that this is just the beginning of the end and there is still a lot of uncertainty about when everything else we do can return.”

All pupils will be given three tests at school before being issued with their own testing kits to take home next week.

A message from the editor:

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever.

Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper.

We stand together.

Ashley Booker, editor.