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How will large schools cope?

(181 Posts)
oldbagface Thu 30-Apr-20 21:28:44

The school issue is worrying. Our school has approximately 1800 pupils. Inner city school in a deprived area. Huge percentage of pupils do not have English as a first language which may possibly hinder understanding of the plethora of new rules they will be expected to adhere to. Further, a high percentage of kids with learning disabilities, Ditto the same issue. Also, even if all kids were able to be compliant and carried out all expectations to the letter, who is going to clean the school throughout the day. Particularly high touch areas. It's not possible. I don't see how it will be safe.

Then if we go with the untested theory that kids don't spread it. In a school of our size there's a lot of adult staff members. Still plenty of opportunities to spread the virus.

Opinions please.

OP’s posts: |
Cary2012 Thu 30-Apr-20 21:37:33

Teacher in a similar school to you OP. Share your concerns. Without a lot of extra support, time for planning to adapt, the answer is simple. Will we cope? No.

RufustheLanglovingreindeer Thu 30-Apr-20 21:40:29

No its not possible

The only suggestion ive seen regarding being able to do it with social distancing is that one year at a time goes into school per day

So year 7 on monday, year 8 on tuesday and so on

I just don’t see how that’s feasible

RufustheLanglovingreindeer Thu 30-Apr-20 21:41:32

Oh and thats a school in a middle class area

Virtually everyone has english as a first language

Starlightstarbright1 Thu 30-Apr-20 21:44:37

We had letter from head today - he is saying IF we return before summer it may be half the school one week the other half the other, but waiting on government advice

PotteringAlong Thu 30-Apr-20 21:47:39

It doesn’t matter how big your school is in terms of pupil numbers. Unless your corridors are over 2m wide you cannot social distance, whether you have 60 pupils or 2000

noblegiraffe Thu 30-Apr-20 21:52:25

Our corridors aren’t 2m wide but they’d just implement a one way system. Stairs will be an issue but I can’t think in my school of anywhere that is only accessible from one flight of stairs (maybe a fire safety thing?).

Dadnotamum72 Thu 30-Apr-20 21:55:54

I think with schools and other environments there wont be a "you must" be 2 metres apart but a more relaxed where possible/ minimise as much as possible type solution like in construction.

OxanaVorontsova Thu 30-Apr-20 21:59:20

We are a big school in an area of high deprivation, pretty close to 50% pp so we need to get back soon if we can and I know our head is desperate to do so. We operate a one way system already and have reasonably spacious corridors. Still don’t think we can open to more than one year group.

CorbynsComrade Thu 30-Apr-20 22:00:40

School and college unions won’t be letting their members work in unsafe conditions though. Yes we need to get children back into education but not by sacrificing teachers

Headbangersandmash Thu 30-Apr-20 22:03:26

I think it will be just y10 and 12 first and the timetable will be rejigged as much as possible so teachers rather than students move rooms like at primary. Obviously you can't go from Food Tech to PE but say a class has just had English, some might stay in the English classroom to have maths or history.

Our school has a one way system but I think the canteen times will have to be more staggered- it's crowded enough without socially distanced queuing and the weather wouldn't allow eating outside for long.

Keepdistance Thu 30-Apr-20 22:03:43


Another research today saying kids do spread as much and catch as much as adults.
But fewer with fevers.

SophieB100 Thu 30-Apr-20 22:06:45

I agree that it will be impossible.
I was in today with the key worker kids, there were only 12 in, and two teachers, so we had 6 students in each classroom. Fine - all sat apart, using hand gel etc.
Then we let them go out on a staggered break - as soon as our six went out, after all the talks that they've had on numerous days about keeping apart, they all held the door open for each other, and sat close together. Can't blame them - it's normal for them.

And we have wide corridors too - but we have 8 classrooms lining up per corridor - potentially 30 kids in each class - they simply cannot line up within the social distancing measures. So, it will have to be very phased and we will need a lot (I mean more than a month's) notice to be able to safely implement this. Also, the SEN kids in particular will really struggle without being close to their TAs (of which I'm one), and other students. I want to go back, but I am very concerned about the implications of going back before we are ready to cope.

TheLastSaola Thu 30-Apr-20 22:08:05

I think it will take longer to get secondary schools back up and running, certainly for all school years.

But I'm not sure why adults in the school couldn't socially distance from other adults though. It seems an easier environment than most.

SophieB100 Thu 30-Apr-20 22:09:51

The problem with your suggestion about the English class staying in the same room for History or Maths is that the are in different sets for different subjects. So a top set English class, might not be a top set Maths class for example. There would have to be a lot of moving around. And TA's have to move with their students.

Headbangersandmash Thu 30-Apr-20 22:14:53

I mean some of the English class might stay for maths (many will be in the same set) with the others moving around. The corridors are a major problem.

The other possibility is staggered start/finish times for each period. The pinging signalling the start/finish of each period would be a nightmare though.

Nat6999 Thu 30-Apr-20 22:17:42

Ds school has over 2000 pupils, at least 70% from not the best council estates, some of the kids are feral, regular drink & drug use in school, I can't see how they will police social distancing when they can't control a lot of the kids normally.

Grasspigeons Thu 30-Apr-20 22:19:53

The measure will become 'best endeavours to socially distance' with a bit of 'doing this ineffective measure for show' thrown in.

LilyPond2 Thu 30-Apr-20 22:21:07

SophieB, completely agree! Keeping kids in the same groups may work for primary, possibly Year 7 and 8 depending on how school is organised. But by the time they choose their GCSE options, the whole system works on students constantly switching between groups for different subjects.

SophieB100 Thu 30-Apr-20 22:21:39

Oh, yes ok @Headbangersandmash, I see what you mean, but that would still mean a lot of timetabling issues - because Maths would then have to follow English...and other subjects would be affected, and the problems would arise there instead.

I'm sure something can and will be worked out. But it will take a lot of time. So if the plan is to allow this to happen after half term, we need to know soon. And my school will need a lot more cleaners, a lot more hand gel for a start. Empty hand gel containers and no hot water in the toilets today. Luckily I took in my own stuff.

Keepdistance Thu 30-Apr-20 22:21:55

I said this on another thread. They would just have to stream rather than set.
It wouldnt make a hug e amoynt of difference.
Hard working bright kids are often top in almost all subjects.
So i would set by maths/science. As those kids would probably also cope with the english etc and tht is easier to extend with homework. (I was thst kid awful at english but top for everything else).

The need to mix up would be when stsrting selection of subjects.
English and history etc probably need less immediate help and feedback so could more easily be done online.

wiltingflower Thu 30-Apr-20 22:24:17

I don't think it will be possible. My school has 1200 on roll this year and is taking on additional year 7s next year. My headteacher emailed all staff to say this and asked for suggestions on how we could manage things and to share concerns.

LilyPond2 Thu 30-Apr-20 22:25:05

Nat6999, yes another point that seems to be missing from a lot of the discussions about socially distancing in schools. A lot of the discussion assumes that the students will at least try to keep to the rules. In practice there will be plenty who deliberately break them.

Dadnotamum72 Thu 30-Apr-20 22:27:08

Exactly as grasspigeons says it will be a best endevours type solution, like everyone says the reality of trying to do it properly is near impossible.

Timeslikethese2020 Thu 30-Apr-20 22:28:41

I can’t imagine how lunch times and break times would be managed with social distancing. Even with split lunches, serving food and seating arrangements would be difficult.

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