PUPILS and parents, teachers and staff of the Upper Wharfedale Primary Federation could barely hide their excitement about children returning to all four schools on Monday.

Throughout lockdown, Grassington Primary School was designated the most central and practical ‘hub’ school in the Federation for an average of 45 children of key workers and those with special educational needs. With a rota of staff from the four schools of the Federation, children were able to be taught in year group bubbles, not only benefitting the pupils, but also relieving considerable pressure on individual staff. Being able to share the load also meant teachers have had more capacity to prepare and support a comprehensive home-schooling program, backed up with direct email contact and telephone calls, daily Zoom videos and weekly class Zooms.

Through the Federation website, families have had easy access to daily lessons in English, maths and topic work, from the Ancient Egyptians to the environment, as well as French, RE, arts and crafts, science experiments, cookery lesson videos and outdoor activities. At weekly class zoom meetings, pupils have been able to present ‘show and tells’ of their work but also simply enjoy time catching up with their friends and form teachers.

Even before the first lockdown, the senior leadership team of the Federation underpinned their curriculum vision with the mindfulness of how children learn and thrive – the concept of Learnology – and there is no doubt this has set staff and pupils in good stead for this most challenging of times for education.

Co-headteacher, Ella Besharati said: “At this time when traditional educational settings and models have not been possible, we’ve been able to draw on our Learnology building blocks to help children continue to engage and grow, whether in school or at home. We couldn’t be prouder of how pupils and parents have made it through this most difficult of times and have been thoroughly impressed by all the photos and examples of work sent throughout lockdown.

“The school community has been amazing and shown remarkable resilience. The ability to create a hub for our four schools during this situation, with all the resources available to us and staff to keep it flourishing, is a testament to the strength we have as a federation.”