Executive Headteacher gives re-opening ‘school report’ to BBC Politics South East
TST Executive Headteacher, Mrs Samantha Crinnion, who is responsible for the Tenterden Primary Federation and Rolvenden Primary School, has spoken to the BBC of her elation at successfully welcoming back hundreds of students to the classroom in the last two weeks, as well as the challenges that still lie ahead.
“It’s been a real mix of emotions,” said Mrs Crinnion. “Elation at the children being back in school because we’ve really missed seeing everyone, to relief that we have managed to pull off the plans that we have spent many, many weeks working hard on.”
Mrs Crinnion was speaking to the BBC’s Natalie Graham on Politics South East on Sunday 13th September, alongside two Kent MPs who praised the work that schools, like those in the Tenterden Schools Trust, have done to plan and prepare for reopening.
Speaking about her priorities for the first weeks of term, Mrs Crinnion said that the main focus has been on wellbeing because: “happy children are happy learners,” She was in fact delighted by the number of children who had returned to school with a very positive attitude, ready to get straight back into learning and that it was a pleasure to see them.
However Mrs Crinnion acknowledged that there were concerns for the most vulnerable children, those from disadvantaged backgrounds or those with special needs, who require quite specialised support and a personalised approach to their learning. Whilst there is still no real clarity on when funding for delivering extra tuition for these children will be available, according to Mrs Crinnion Trust schools would be taking their own action. “I don’t think we can wait around for that decision to be made; we’ve got to look in-house to see what we need to do in the shorter term.”
The extra protection and cleaning had of course come at an additional cost, which would not be covered by any new Government funding.
Mrs Crinnion was realistic about the challenge of keeping on top of guidance updates, with class bubbles and other safety measures being the new normal for months to come.
”I think all schools have done everything they can to reduce risk – and we can only reduce risk, we cannot eliminate risk. It’s now about being reflective, looking at any new advice that comes out and always looking to improve what we are doing to keep everyone safe as much as possible.”