PUPILS at Bury Grammar have joined those returning to classes for the first time since the pandemic began.

Youngster from the kindergarten and Year 6 at the establishment returned to school on Tuesday. The school was said to be at 73 per cent capacity overall.

And educational leaders are preparing to welcome reception and Year 1 pupils back next week.

The majority of schools in Bury have indicated they are planning on a return next Monday for Year 6 students and a mid-month restart for the rest.

But the senior leadership team at Bury Grammar says it has been "hard at work" to introduce plans to for he return - while supporting the decisions of parents over whether they choose to send their sons or daughters back.

Jo Anderson, principal, said: "We are really proud of our pupils who have responded extremely well to the remote learning programme we have put in place.

"They know that, by continuing to focus on their studies, they are protecting their futures. BGS pupils have adapted to these extraordinary circumstances extremely well and their teachers have been hard at work every single day to make sure no young person falls behind.

"We must also say a big 'thank you' to parents whose role in supporting learning has been pivotal to pupils’ success.

"Now, more than ever, our home-school partnership is central to enabling pupils to flourish. Alongside lessons, pupils continue to enjoy the full support of the Pastoral Team, meeting with their tutors regularly.

"They also have access to weekly assemblies and an online extra-curricular programme is being offered to pupils again from this week."

The school has been open to the children of key workers during lockdown and this provision is set to continue.

Chrissy Howard, primary principal, added: "Teachers have worked tirelessly to provide this provision and parents are extremely grateful for this support and likewise staff at BGS are grateful for the support of our key workers”.

And Devin Cassidy, vice-principal, said: "Much work has gone into preparing the estate, putting security and safeguarding measures in place, considering the best possible schedule for pupils’ return and the safest possible format of their provision”.

The school says separate entrances and exits have been allocated for each class and regular and routine thermometer checks are now in place, while classrooms have desks set out a safe two-metre distance and a one way system will operate for circulation, as well as hand sanitising stations being installed.

Certain classes could be moved to larger accommodation, such as the school hall.

Mrs Anderson added: "Bury Grammar School eagerly awaits the return of all pupils and we are very much looking forward to that day. Today we are one day and one step closer."