York schools are planning to welcome back all their pupils – and bring back sport and drama

The chair of York Schools and Academies Board says the city’s schools are more united than ever – and planning to welcome back all their pupils again.

John Tomsett said there are challenges, but schools are also looking ahead to “start doing some of the joyful things again” for their students.

Mr Tomsett said planning has begun for students to return to school next month.

“We’re planning that if we come back on March 8, which I’m sure we will do, if it’s just years 11 to 13 we won’t bubble they would just go to their normal rooms around the school.

“If everybody’s back we will bubble up to Easter, have three weeks and then after Easter we hope to be able to put on sport, to put on musicals.

“We’ve got to start doing some of the joyful things in school again, because what they miss most is their mates.”

No promises

John Tomsett

Mr Tomsett told a council meeting: “What’s frustrating is that you just can’t promise anything. If the South African variant take off we’re in a different situation again, you can understand entirely why the government are very reluctant to put any dates on anything.”

He highlighted concerns about the grading process for exams and praised staff for working under “extraordinarily complex demands” with some teachers home schooling their own young children while delivering hours of remote classes.

Schools have been using funding to supply pupils with laptops, equipment and internet-connected dongles to ensure they can access remote learning.

They are also printing out a week’s worth of work for some pupils and sending it to their homes, where students are struggling with access to classes online.

Ofsted will start to carry out monitoring visits to schools to evaluate the quality of their remote learning services in spring term.