THE Government's announcement on how schools will reopen in September 'appears to provide clear guidelines' says a leading headteacher ­— who added that schools will look and feel very different when they reopen in the new academic year.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson unveiled his plan on how to get all children back in the classroom in the new academic year.

Schools are being told to create bubbles, implement social distancing, pupils asked to cycle or walk to school where possible, not to stage large gatherings, such as assemblies or collective worship with more than one group.

The advice also states singing, wind and brass playing should not take place in larger groups as there may be an additional risk of infection.

Schools, or all pupils in a year group, may have to self-isolate at home if there are two or more confirmed coronavirus cases within a fortnight.

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Headmaster of Bolton School boys' division, Philip Britton said: "The positive aspect of the guidance is that, at first glance, it appears to provide reasonable clear guidelines and explanations of how those should be thought about in schools.

"Certainly a version of real school rather than virtual will be possible, but it is still not at all school as pupils and teachers will have known it."

The head also spoke about how lockdown had highlighted the important different roles school plays in society.

He explained: "One of the many thought provoking outcomes of the lockdown has been the focus on what schools are for – revealing some obvious yet uncomfortable truths as well as some positive lessons for the future.

The obvious and uncomfortable truths first. You always work out what something does when it is not there and two huge areas in the fabric of society have been exposed as schools have closed."

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Mr Britton (pictured) said that the schools provide childcare, which underpins working life for parents.

" Aside from all the many other much more erudite reasons for having schools one of the roles they have is as a childcare facility.That is not glamorous but it may help people look on the education budget more favourably and wonder what that provision would cost if provided in any other way. Modern society does not work without schools looking after our children," said Mr Britton.

He added: "Second, schools are often the place of support and guidance for those young people where a home background may not provide that and also, actually , where it does but young people need another voice and a range of sources of advice as they shape their adult character.

" Schools are the front line of social care and for mental and physical health care. Let’s remember that when we discuss what budget education needs. This role has increased over the years as local health services and social services have changed in nature. We use schools as that first point of contact and acknowledging that is important."

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Mr Britton spoke about how lockdown had shone a spotlight on the teaching profession.

He explained: "Here there is a positive truth I think has emerged. Teachers do a skilled job and now many parents have worked that out. This job is not about imparting knowledge, although that is part of the job. It is about structure, systems, expectations, vision and motivation.

"One positive message that will surely emerge, just for a while, is a better appreciation of what teachers do and, perhaps, a little more understanding when schools ring home to share an issue and ask for support in shaping a young life."

Mr Britton concluded: "Schools will be back, and as is again always true in life, will soon be taken for granted again.

" Can we see how long we can remember just what an important part of the fabric of everyday life a school is?"