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UK, Schools open for more pupils but parents still wary

There is a very mixed local picture in how schools are reopening, and in some areas schools remain shut. Children in Reception, Years 1 and 6 are able to return, with many having been out of school for 10 weeks.  It comes as lockdown measures are eased in England, including groups of six people being allowed to meet outside. Schools have remained open throughout the coronavirus restrictions for the children of key workers and vulnerable children - but from Monday many more pupils are able to return. But there have been fears about safety from teachers' unions and some local authorities and many schools are not yet taking back more pupils - or not bringing back all the year groups set out by the government.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said children needed to catch up with missed lessons and at school they "will be with their teachers and friends again".

The view from the first morning back

BBC News education reporter Judith Burns describes the return to school:

"You look like you've grown," says teacher Catherine Hughes to a reception pupil who hasn't been in school since March.

"Are you excited to be back?" Helen Frostick head of St Mary Magdalen's Catholic primary school in West London asks another. 

About half of those who could have returned have taken up their places, alongside 15 children of key workers who have continued to come into school throughout the lockdown. The classrooms have been completely reorganised, with desks in rows, facing forwards, instead of pushed together into big tables. There's lots of hand washing and the windows are open to let in fresh air. The school has split each class into two separate bubbles with one half in on Monday and Tuesday and the other on Thursday and Friday, which allows for a deep clean on Wednesdays. 

In the Reception class each table is separate, with its own tray of equipment so that the children don't need to get out of their seats so much, says teaching assistant, Clare Gordon. 

"It really is best for the family," says mum Sophia as she brings her two sons to school.

She has managed to do some home schooling with the boys over the past few weeks but it hasn't always been easy. 

BBC NEWS

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