Summer schools successfully run without Covid spike

Schools and education providers are being asked to nominate pupils aged 16 to 18

Summer schools have been hailed as a success in Suffolk. Stock photo. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Summer schools in Suffolk during the six week holiday break did not lead to a spike in Covid-19 cases, according to Suffolk County Council.

The authority said that most secondary schools in the county opted to run a summer school for around a week, largely for the year six pupils coming up to join high school in year seven from September.

Adrian Orr, assistant director for education and learning at Suffolk County Council, said the weeks ran smoothly throughout the county.

“It was pretty quiet through the summer,” he said.

“One of the things we were really mindful of was almost all of Suffolk secondaries did some sort of summer school activity with a focus on transition for the year sixes.

Adrian Orr

Adrian Orr, assistant director for education and learning at Suffolk County Council - Credit: Suffolk County Council

“We had got everything crossed that we didn’t see a spike in transmission, because there was a risk that we had done a really good job to get to the end of term and then we bring all these kids in from different schools. That ran incredibly smoothly.

“We always thought the content of them would be positive but we did worry about a potential infection issue.

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“It meant that children got a good opportunity [to prepare for their new school], staff were able to get off for a break and we had relatively little contact through the summer from schools.”

It is understood most of the summer schools were held at the start of the holidays.

The council has continued to hold weekly meetings with sector leaders, and carried on its weekly drop-in sessions for schools which had concerns or needed additional support.

Mr Orr said those will continue for as long as they are needed.

It has meant the sector is largely buoyed for a positive start to the new term.

“I think the Suffolk sector is very well prepared for the start of term,” Mr Orr said.

“As much as we love our children, parents are going to be pleased for them to get back to school.

“There is a tangible sense among schools and school leaders that we really want the 2021/22 academic year to look far more like a normal academic year than the previous ones.

“There is a genuine sense we have till got to be cautious because we are not out of the woods. People want things to be as normal as possible but we are prepared to deal with things as they come up.”