SCHOOLS across the country could learn from a Bolton primary on how to get all children back into school safely.

Sharples Primary School has opened to all year groups ­— and became one of just 99 schools nationwide to be recognised for the care it has given to staff ­— key workers who have carried on working, while most people were staying at home.

A number of primary schools in Bolton have opened to all year groups after getting children in nursery, reception, Year One and Six back safely.

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Headteacher of Sharples Primary, Gemma Partington said: “ Due to the successful return for these children and the capacity of staff, school felt that it could widen its opening to other year groups and this was agreed by governors.

She said that the “safety of the children is of paramount importance”. The school has limited movement around, classes are staying together in bubbles and social distancing is in place for drop-off and pick-up.

Mrs Partington said: “ The return of the children has been lovely, children and parents are smiling coming through the gates and are benefitting from being back in school. “School is overwhelmed with the support from parents who have continued to deliver home learning to their children which school is continuing to provide for the children not in school. A wellbeing curriculum has been delivered to the children alongside English, Maths and foundation topic learning.”

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Sharples Primary has been awarded the Teach Well Alliance School Gold Award for taking care of the physical and mental wellbeing of staff during the Corona Virus outbreak.

Mrs Partington said: “ I feel this shows our commitment as a school to the wellbeing of staff and how we have positively responded to the pandemic. All staff in school have gone above and beyond to ensure that the children at Sharples Primary continue to receive fantastic support from school.”

The school has also been supporting those who will be started school or nursery next year through taking in social distancing garden activities at the school, to get them used to their new environment in September.

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Governor Afzal Babariya said: "As a parent governor at Sharples Primary School it has been a delight to see the schools response to the Covid crisis. From the day the school had to close it’s doors in March all the staff have been working extremely hard behind the scenes to make sure all the children continue their schooling. I would like to extend my thanks to both the headteacher and the staff for getting us to a position where the school has been able to welcome back pupils from all year groups. It’s testament to all their hard work and commitment."

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One parent added: "Sulaiman has been so happy and excited to be going to school this week. He did say it was strange having lunch in the classroom and not going near other people but I can tell it was a good decision sending him back. I was worried but you and all the other staff are doing amazing work making it feel as normal as possible and we are very grateful."