COUNCIL leaders have insisted schools across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole are "fully prepared" to welcome back thousands of children for the new academic year.

Across the BCP Council area all 96 schools will be opening their doors in the next few days as pupils head back to the classroom.

The local authority said extensive preparations and planning had been taking place for months to ensure the safety of all pupils, many of whom have not been back into school for more than five months.

The measures parents and children can expect to see in school include:

  • Study bubbles
  • Zoned spaces within school buildings
  • One way systems
  • Additional canteen facilities
  • Strict hygiene and handwashing facilities
  • Staggered start and finish times

There are also additional measures in place to address specific needs.

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Councillor Sandra Moore, BCP Council portfolio holder for children and families, said: “Our schools have been open throughout lockdown – we never closed but September marks a significant and very welcome step forward in being able to welcome back every child into the classroom again.

Bournemouth Echo: Councillor Sandra MooreCouncillor Sandra Moore

"Our schools have worked immensely hard with the council on the arrangements and teachers themselves are delighted to be able to have children and young people back once again.

“The risk of infection remains extremely low in Dorset and just as many families have felt confident to be able to enjoy outings, day trips and holidays throughout the summer, we encourage everyone to feel confident around the measures in place to protect their children in school."

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BCP Council is encouraging parents to prepare their child for school by explaining what they can expect at their individual school, reminding them of rules around social distancing and the importance of strict hygiene.

“Children need to feel secure and protected and school is extremely important in a child’s life in providing a safe environment," said Cllr Moore. "Providing a nurturing environment, a high-quality education and great opportunities to grow are key to our brighter future priority.

"For so many reasons, including social and wellbeing, I am pleased that we have reached the stage where children can once again get the dedicated support they need in the familiarity and structure of being able to attend school.”