WITH primary schools in Bicester set to reopen to some pupils next week, parents have mixed feelings about sending their children back to school while the country still tackles the coronavirus pandemic.

The Government has issued guidance on how primary schools can function in a safe way when pupils return.

It advises smaller class sizes to limit the amount of contact between different groups of children, as well as increased cleaning and encouraging good hand and respiratory hygiene.

But some parents feel it is too soon for their children to go back to school.

Samantha Jane, 32, from Bicester, has a child in Year 6 who could go back to Langford Village Primary School from Monday, but says she 'very likely' won't be sending him.

She said: “I have no doubt the school will do their best. However I am majorly concerned that my child will be allowed to be part of a ‘bubble’ of children, containing 14 other children and one teacher, all of whom are from different households.

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“They will be inside in a classroom together sharing a space. My worry is firstly this goes against government guidelines of only seeing one person from a different household in an outside capacity. It also doesn’t sit right with me because although I know we as a family have stuck to the rules, I don’t know if the other 14 children or teachers have whilst at home.”

Langford Village Primary School issued a letter to parents on May 21 outlining the phased reopening of the school.

Next week, Year 6 will be invited back in four groups of up to 15 children. Two groups will attend on Monday and Tuesday and two groups will attend on Thursday and Friday.

The following week Year 1 will be invited back in the same way and reception pupils the week after.

The school will be closed on Wednesdays to all pupils except Key Worker children, allowing the school to do a deep clean on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

The primary school is looking at the possibility of inviting the remaining year groups back in the same way outlined above from June 22.

Parent Nikki Halling-Green, from Bicester said: "One of my children can go back next week as they are in Year 6 but I'm not happy to send mine back yet as I'm not sure it's safe yet.

"We live in a village where people have still been doing what they want, not really listening to the rules. Plus I'm not sure I want them to until houses of parliament are back in, if it's not safe for them how is it safe for kids."

Other parents say it depends on the circumstances of each family.

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Some with children in Year 6 or reception/nursery feel they need to go back in order to help them transition into the new term in September.

Victoria Bourner, 27, from Bicester said: “I think it depends on everyone’s different situations. For me and my family we have decided to put my four-year-old back into pre-school to prepare her for big school. The reason being, we are a forces family and due to move to Germany anytime between August and December which is already a massive change for her.

“We didn’t want her to end up having six months off pre-school then all of a sudden move country, house and start big school."

Bicester resident Cathy Vincent, 43, has three children including a son in Year 6.

She said: “He is going back to school as we feel it’s important for his transition to big school. It's more for his mental health and well being, as big school is such a huge step and I think if he was off school for six months and then went into secondary school, it would be a huge shock and he'd take longer to settle.”

Some parents feel their children are too young to understand social-distancing rules and are worried that they won’t understand the new classroom environment.

A mum who has asked not be named who has a daughter that goes to Bure Park Primary School reception, said: “I’ve just had a ‘code of conduct’ from the school to sign before she’s allowed back on site. It’s a joke, she nearly four years old and won’t be able do as they are asking. I’m not impressed with how it’s been handled.

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“She will not understand social distancing rules when she’s around her friends. She doesn’t understand, all she knows is there’s a germ and that’s why she can’t go to school."

However others are not worried about their children going back at all, and believe a school environment is best.

Sarah Wyatt, 37, from Bicester has children in Year 1 and Year 6 and she is happy for them to go back.

She said: “I am pleased they are going back to school - they miss their friends and the lack of structure. While we have been doing their school work at home it will never be as effective as a school environment.

“Of course there are worries but you can’t live your life in worry.”

Karolina Maria, 37, from Bicester has decided her daughter will attend Kings Meadow school.

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She said: “I strongly believe that the psychological impact of recent social distancing on children is huge and can have detrimental effect on their behaviours.

“Children at this age (4,5) have just started learning how to build relationships, how to abide by rules at school, how to start looking after themselves and the longer period of not sending them back to school can revert all they have learnt throughout the recent months.”