Park Community School in Havant sees almost 100 per cent attendance as pupils return

PARK Community School in Havant has begun to welcome back students – and teachers are full of pride at the way students have adapted to a strange new routine.

Monday, 8th March 2021, 4:53 pm

Pupils from Year 7 and Year 10 returned today, facing a new routine of self-administered Covid-19 swabs in staggered tutor groups.

Lateral flow tests will produce a result in 30 mins, with strict mask wearing and social distancing in place to ensure any positive cases remain isolated.

Despite the ‘strange’ experience facing many students still in their first year of secondary school, pupils have adapted remarkably well, according to deputy head Jamie Bryce, who has been co-ordinating the testing.

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Children return to Park Community School - to a 'strange' new routine of self-administered Covid-19 tests.

He said: ‘Behaviour has been great. None of the children have kicked up a fuss about it. I could not be more proud of them.’

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And the first day showed that students were keen to return to the classroom, with a near 100 per cent attendance record, according to headteacher Chris Anders.

He said: ‘That’s showing a high commitment to coming back to school.

Headteacher Mr Chris Anders with pupils as they return to Park Community School, Havant Picture: Chris Moorhouse (080321-19)

‘It makes a change to our experience before Christmas. In the week before the Christmas break, our attendance was about 60 per cent. This was a combination of a lot of children being unwell or isolating – but half of these absences were due to concerns that it wasn’t safe.’

Despite concerns about infection clusters in schools, Park Community School has seen just six cases so far in 2021, with up to 185 children of key workers continuing to attend in-person teaching during the latest lockdown.

With more than 800 students at the school, the parents of just 30 pupils have requested that their children not be tested.

Lexi Miller, 11, self-administers her lateral flow test. Picture: Chris Moorhouse (080321-11)

For 12-year-old Ryan Jennings the test was not a welcome addition to the school day – but it was made more bearable with the promise of brighter days ahead.

He said: ‘I’ve been tested before – it almost made me sick. But it’s good to get tested to stop Covid.

‘This last year has been rubbish – It’s been so boring stuck indoors.

‘We should have a big party when this is all over.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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