Schools have remained open since the coronavirus lockdown was imposed in March, for the children of key workers and vulnerable children, but, from June 1, more than two million more primary school pupils were invited back across the country.
At Bosham Primary School, teachers 'spurred into action' after the government announced that primary schools could welcome back additional children.
However, with no field area within the grounds, this staff were faced with a particularly difficult challenge.
"Anyone who knows the school well, will appreciate how challenging this task has been due to our unique classroom layout and lack of both internal and external space," deputy headteacher Lisa Harris said.
"We are a seven-class primary school with a central hall space and two playground areas.
"In order to facilitate the phased return of Years R, 1 and 6, we have needed to accommodate six bubbles of 15 children.
"In addition, we have three bubbles of vulnerable and children who have critical worker parents. Therefore, we needed a plan which would provide for nine bubbles of 15 children with only seven classrooms and a hall, whilst trying to follow that the children should be outside as much as possible to reduce the transmission of the virus."
In accordance with guidance from West Sussex County Council, the school also had to provide a hot school meal for the children.
Mrs Harris said: "This meal is usually prepared and served in our school hall. As we had a bubble using the hall space, this was no longer a viable option for us.
"Therefore, we had to be creative in our approach and look further into the community for support to solve a number of challenges, we needed; temporary classroom space; a space to prepare hot school meals and additional outside space so we can accommodate nine bubbles of children who should not mix.
"Discussions were had within the local community to find out how we could overcome these difficulties."
Usually, the school uses the parish recreation ground but they 'must share it with the general public'.
Mrs Harris added: "To support the school, the football club kindly offered the use of their barriers to section off an area for the school to have sole use of, and the parish offices/youth
club were set up as a space to prepare the hot school meals.
"However, the conundrum of where to house a temporary classroom remained."
With 'all options explored of alternative spaces' within the community, it looked as if the school was going to have to 'revise its plan and set up a rota system' until a marquee firm came to the rescue.
"Our head teacher, Mrs [Debbie] Allen, made a tentative phone call to Pridewatch Events, a local marquee firm based in Sidlesham," Mrs Harris said. "24 hours later a solution was
"Pridewatch Events came to the rescue, providing a quality marquee which is now being kitted out with classroom furniture and individual resource packs for the children to use as from Tuesday.
"The installation is now known as ‘Meerkat Marquee’ and will be the new home for a bubble of Year 1 children.
"We cannot thank Pridewatch Events enough for their kindness, professionalism and speedy service. They are true superheroes who came to the rescue in our hour of need."
The government’s plan for all primary pupils in England to return to schools before the end of the summer term have been scrapped.
The aim had been for all children in primary years to spend four weeks in school before the summer holidays, but such a move is no longer thought to be feasible. Read more here
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