Mid Sussex schools share their delight as they welcome back pupils and students

Mid Sussex schools were delighted to welcome back pupils and students on Monday after months of remote learning.

Wednesday, 10th March 2021, 10:08 am
Updated Thursday, 11th March 2021, 10:29 am

Children at Harlands Primary School in Haywards Heath were greeted with the sound of uplifting music from the accordion and saxophone, which created a jolly atmosphere in the playground.

“There is a wonderful sense of relief to be able to get back fully into our teaching and learning,” said headteacher David McKeown-Webster.

“The staff at Harlands have been delighted to see all of our children back in school together.

Staff and pupils at St Mark’s CE Primary School in Staplefield. Photo by Steve Robards
Staff and pupils at St Mark’s CE Primary School in Staplefield. Photo by Steve Robards

“Monday went really well and our attendance was extremely high.

“So many parents have been appreciative of the efforts the whole school has made over the past couple of months, and now there is a renewed sense of hope for getting back into the full swing of school life.”

Laura Kelsey, headteacher at St Mark’s CE Primary School in Staplefield, said staff had been counting down the days until children could return.

“We have had about 30 per cent of our children in during this lockdown but we are so looking forward to having all the children back as it has felt like our school community has been segmented,” she said ahead of Monday.

Pupils at St Mark’s CE Primary School in Staplefield. Photo by Steve Robards

“During this week’s staff meeting on preparing for the return, teachers came up with some phrases that summed up how we felt over this period and my favourites were ‘Isolated but not alone’ and ‘Separated but still community’.”

Rob Carter, headteacher at St Paul’s Catholic College in Burgess Hill, said he has been overwhelmed by the dedication of staff, students and families since January to support ‘live lessons’, every lesson, every day.

He added: “This has led to creative learning with art, music, drama, PE and live cooking in food technology to name just a few. Last week all staff and students were given their first lateral flow test and it was wonderful to see everyone – but everyone said there was no replacement for ‘real facetime’ as we returned to the classroom.”

Anne Claxton, headteacher of Albourne CEP School, said pupils were greeted with ‘Welcome Back’ banners on Monday, adding: “It just hasn’t been the same without all our school family here.”

Pupils at St Mark’s CE Primary School in Staplefield. Photo by Steve Robards

Twineham C Of E School said it has been amazing to see children reunited with their friends, already back in the swing of learning and laughing together. “We strongly feel that no child is behind - this generation of awesome pupils has experienced something challenging and unique in world history,” said headteacher Scott Reece.

“Families have worked tirelessly to support learning while teachers have found new ways to engage learners through remote provision.”

Dr John Smith, chief executive of University of Brighton Academies Trust, which looks after Lindfield Primary Academy, Blackthorns Community Primary Academy and The Burgess Hill Academy, said he was delighted playgrounds will soon be filled once again with happy children.

He added: “I am immensely proud and thankful to our fantastic staff members - whether they have provided learning provision in the classroom, remotely, or supported behind the scenes, their contribution and professionalism have helped steer us through the many challenges that we have faced in the past 12 months.”

Burgess Hill Girls’ head of prep Heather Cavanagh with pupils. Photo by Steve Robards

Brambletye school in East Grinstead said the children ‘are the heart and soul of Brambletye and their return has brought the school back to life’.

Holy Trinity CE Primary School in Cuckfield surprised children on Monday with a balloon arch and banner of photos, along with music.

Meanwhile, Farney Close School in Bolney has remained open throughout the latest lockdown, as all pupils are classed as vulnerable.

Principal Sara Hack said: “I am incredibly proud of how well our pupils and whole school staff team have managed over this time, and look forward to leading them all into the next part of this journey we are taking, as we move into our new normal.

“As a residential and day school we are very much looking forward to eventually being able to ease our covid restrictions, so that our pupils can access all the academic and social opportunities available to them prior to this pandemic.”

Pupils at Burgess Hill Girls. Photo by Steve Robards
Burgess Hill Girls’ head of prep Heather Cavanagh with pupils. Photo by Steve Robards
Burgess Hill Girls’ head of prep Heather Cavanagh with pupils. Photo by Steve Robards
Pupils at Harlands Primary School in Haywards Heath were greeted with music
Pupils at Harlands Primary School in Haywards Heath
Pupils at Harlands Primary School in Haywards Heath
Amber, St Paul's Catholic College's school therapy dog in line for her lateral flow test
St Paul's Catholic College students lining up to be welcomed for their covid test last week
Pupils at The Burgess Hill Academy
Pupils at Lindfield Primary Academy
Pupils at Blackthorns Academy
Pupils return to Brambletye school
Pupils return to Brambletye school
Pupils return to Brambletye school
Pupils return to Brambletye school
Pupils return to Brambletye school
Pupils return to Brambletye school
Pupils return to Brambletye school
Pupils return to Brambletye school
Pupils return to Brambletye school
Pupils return to Holy Trinity CE Primary School
Pupils return to Holy Trinity CE Primary School