A PRIMARY school headteacher believes it was a “big mistake” to accept children into school before September.

Liz Bartholomew, headteacher at the Mayflower Primary School, Dovercourt, said: “We now find ourselves in a situation where we are juggling a key worker and vulnerable group, Reception, Years 1, 6 and in our case also Year 5, all this on top of the fact that we still have had no guidance about what September will actually look like.

“I would have preferred to have kept all children off until September, allowing us the time to organise a return.

“Now we will find ourselves in a situation where we are likely going to have to use our summer holiday to get ready if we don’t get some guidance soon.

“I have worked non-stop since the February half term without a break and, quite honestly, I am on my last legs.

“The stress and sheer volume of work has been unprecedented. I have never known anything like it in my 26 years in education and seven years of headship.

“Of course, we want the children back, and we have actually loved seeing the few year groups return, but the Department of Education has no comprehension of timing or of workload.”

Abigail Fairbairn, headteacher at Lawford C of E Primary School, said she is looking forward to welcoming all children back to school.

“We know from those who are in at the moment how much the children have missed playing and chatting to their friends and the opportunity to learn in school with their teacher," she said.

“There are undoubtedly some challenges in ensuring that school will be Covid secure for all children, families and staff, and I look forward to the guidance from the government which I hope will answer the many questions all headteachers have about the full reopening in September.

“I am confident my staff will continue to work with the children’s best interests at heart, as they have throughout this time, and ensure we have a school environment in September that is as safe and as welcoming as practicable.”