‘We can’t magic up new classrooms’: Inside schools trying to cope as coronavirus turns into educational crisis

Learning bubbles, temperature checks and taped-off play equipment are new normal as teachers battle valiantly with ‘impossible’ logistics of full reopenings (but pupils remain undaunted), finds Colin Drury

Monday 15 June 2020 08:46
Outdoor classes at Lea Forest Primary Academy
Outdoor classes at Lea Forest Primary Academy

Lunchtime at Lea Forest Primary Academy in Birmingham and 11-year-old Riley Peace is looking somewhat perturbed. The youngster says he is happy to be one of the select 90 reception, year 1 and year 6 pupils who have been allowed to return to the 505-student school after almost three months of coronavirus lockdown.

But break times leave him missing friends who are yet to return. “We don’t have enough people for a football game,” he explains. “No good.”

A friend has other preoccupations. The school, in the city’s Kitts Green area, has postponed this summer’s year 6 graduation ball. “There should be a party when you leave a school,” he says, reasonably enough.

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