Balcombe Primary School, like many other schools in the area, has been through a tough time this year with the challenges of remaining open throughout the pandemic.
However, it bounced back at the start of the new academic year and although there have been some changes to the normal routines and procedures, all pupils have been welcomed back.
Rob McIntyre, a governor at the school, said: Undertaking a detailed risk assessment and operating a bubble system has kept pupils and staff safe, only made possible through the tireless efforts of headteacher Wendy Millbanks and her long-standing team of teachers, administrators and support staff who have gone over and above to enable the school to function.”
During the first lockdown, the school was open for a number of key-worker children. It also worked with the parish council clerk, Jemma McCarthy, to identify families which would receive free food deliveries donated by food company Cook. Village families which did not have a computer benefited from a number of donated tablets in a scheme organised by village resident Alice Cooke, who persuaded companies and individuals to donate the devices to a good cause.
St Mary’s Church also donated the cost of 10 iPads for remote learning for children with no IT equipment if they needed to self-isolate.
The community pulled together to help the school in other ways too, by donating gardening tools, planting up tubs with flowers in front of the buildings, and parents restored the school pond and wildlife area.
The school even received a donation of paracetamol from a parent when the shops had run out.
Janina Clark, parent and governor, said: “I can’t thank the staff at the school enough for their efforts to keep our children engaged through what has been an incredibly difficult time.
“The community has also given us so much help.
“We are very grateful to everyone.”