Schools are ready for your return - plan your journey back to school

Published Saturday, 29 August 2020

Bromley schools are ready to return next week and have completed extensive work to protect children, staff and parents.

Over 10,000 children attended school in the summer term and schools managed this safely. Building on this success, schools have made further changes in line with national guidance to ensure this continues as numbers increase. These include:

· Using bubbles to reduce contact between children – bubbles will usually be class or year group sized depending upon the size of the school.

· Using one-way systems, staggered start/end times and playtimes depending upon the layout of the school to reduce the number of children who come into contact with each other.

· Increased handwashing, cleaning and ventilation at all schools.

· Schools have been given advice on the steps to take if they suspect a child or member of staff is showing symptoms of COVID-19. PHE and Bromley Public Health will support individual schools to ensure the right action is taken to manage this – including advising which families and staff may need to self-isolate or get tested as a result.

Each school will have details of these changes on its website, or has communicated the changes to parents and carers.

Children and young people will not only see changes to classrooms, but also to the way they travel to school. From next week there will be dedicated bus services for school students on all the busiest school bus routes, alongside regular services. The school buses will be able to operate at 100% capacity and school students will be asked to use them rather than non-school services. Regular buses will continue to operate at 40% capacity and residents may like to be aware that this is likely to cause pressure on transport capacity at the start of the day and when the school day finishes.

Everyone over 11 using a bus without an exemption will be expected to wear a face covering.

Portfolio Holder for Children, Education and Families, Cllr Peter Fortune said: “I never fail to be impressed by Bromley schools and other settings. Throughout the pandemic they have continued to provide a safe place to learn for all those who needed it most. Education leaders have worked incredibly hard over the summer to prepare for the start of term and I know they are really looking forward to welcoming all pupils back. The council will continue to work closely with them and to support this important step for our local children.”

Portfolio Holder for Environment and Community Services, Cllr William Huntington-Thresher said: "We have worked closely with Bromley schools to enable pupils to access school safely, responding to specific concerns some schools have expressed about potential crowding on nearby pavements. We encourage our school pupils and college students to walk, cycle or scoot into school or college as a great way to get fit, help the environment and ease some of the pressure on buses. Travelling to school is just a small part of a school day but we welcome the support of schools, parents and carers to encourage our young people to travel to school in a different way. We would encourage parents/carers of primary age children not to congregate outside the school but to watch their children walk the last/first part of the journey independently.

Over the last few weeks, the council has placed temporary floor stickers, lamp column signs and/or banners outside every school in Bromley to promote social distancing and has extended sections of pavement where safe to do so at a number of schools, as part of the Streetspace programme to install social distancing and safety measures. Council staff have worked hard in the last few weeks to prepare the public realm outside schools to facilitate a safe environment for pupils to start the new term.

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· For media enquiries, please contact Susie Clark in Corporate Communications, on 020 8461 7911 or email susie.clark@bromley.gov.uk