Schools across Powys are preparing to welcome pupils back next week after being closed for three months.

Schools will re-open on Monday, June 28 as part of ‘Check in, catch up, prepare for summer and September’ – the Welsh Government’s next phase of lockdown easing for education.

As part of this phase, the Welsh Government announced that the summer term would be extended by one week to Friday, July 24 with autumn half-term holiday being lengthened to two weeks – a timescale to which Powys Council says it is adhering.

Staff at Welshpool Church in Wales School said they are delighted to be opening its doors to pupils again after a long period of home learning during lock down.

School staff have been supporting pupils over this time with home learning grids, newsletters, online classrooms and weekly phone calls.

Headteacher Mrs Justine Baldwin said: “We are all excited to see those pupils who wish to come back for their Check-in Catch-up and Prepare sessions. We have been working hard to put a plan in place so that we can offer sessions to all our 289 pupils if they would like to return.

“We are exceeding the Education Minister’s advice by offering four sessions for all pupils over the four-week period, while limiting numbers to six or seven children in bubble to keep everyone safe. We don’t expect all our families to take up the offer, but we wanted to make sure the offer was there anyway.

“We have made sure that families can have their sessions on the same day across our threes sites, and we have tried to fit in friendship groups too, as we are aware that the children haven’t had a chance to catch up with their friends for such a long time.”

The school has communicated this plan to parents and carers through a series of comprehensive documents, videos and newsletters, as well as producing a child-friendly version to explain how differently things will look from a child’s perspective when they return to school.

The chair of Governors councillor Francesca Jump added: “We are aware that some children will be anxious about returning to school, so the staff have put together a booklet showing a lovely series of pictures that will hopefully make them feel less worried.”

“The governors have been involved in making sure the risk assessments are all completed and in place ready for the return to school as per Powys County Council’s commitment to health and safety.

“We are confident that the school has followed the Welsh Government guidance about social distancing measures to ensure the safety and wellbeing of learners and staff, and I know that the local authority has worked closely with all heads and the Unions to try to deliver the best for all our learners.”