Year 6 pupils are set to return to a primary school more than a month after it began its phased reopening.

Epping Primary School reopened on June 2 following the coronavirus lockdown; on July 13 Year 6 pupils will return to class.

When it first reopened, the school in Coronation Hill only brought back Reception and Year 1 pupils and not Year 6 pupils like most other schools in the district.

At the time, school leaders said they would be at “maximum space and staffing capacity” with Reception and Year 1 pupils.

Last week Prime Minister Boris Johnson introduced a ‘one-metre-plus’ social distancing rule, replacing the old two metre rule.

“The school was therefore initially, and with great sadness, unable to accommodate our Y6 pupils”, A school spokesperson said. “We are now delighted, however, that as guidance has changed we are able to welcome them back to school, starting on Monday, July 13.”

School leaders say they followed Department for Education guidance in prioritising provision for vulnerable and key worker pupils, Reception (EYFS), Year 1, and then at the lowest priority, Year 6.

A school spokesperson added: “We received a very strong response from all parents in EYFS, Y1 and Y6. At this time our planning suggested we could safely accommodate all of our vulnerable and key worker children, all of our EYFS and all of our Y1 pupils full time from June 1.

“The need to maintain social distancing guidance means that once all these pupils were safely accommodated the school was at maximum staffing capacity.”

“We have been working in very challenging times with a reduced number of staff. Our staff have worked tirelessly and willingly to adapt their teaching methods for all year groups, work in school full time with the existing bubbles yet still provide a good level of education to those who continue to learn remotely and have continued to provide zoom well-being meetings. Our staff have been exemplary.”

“In the meantime for our Y6 pupils the school has continued to provide quality remote learning, weekly Zoom wellbeing sessions with their teachers so they can all keep in contact. They have spoken with pupils and parents regarding what they would like to do for the end of the year to celebrate their time at primary school, at the same time explaining that some activities will be 'different to normal' because of the strict guidance in schools. Pupils have also been busy preparing information to go into their yearbook.”

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