PRIMARY schools across Oxfordshire have spoken about their return to the classroom, with a sense of relief that the Government dropped plans for all pupils to go back.

Various trusts raised question marks about the idea, which was ditched last week.

Problems surrounding school and class sizes were a concern for many.

The River Learning Trust (RLT) operates 15 primary schools in the county.

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Paul James, its chief executive officer, said: “I think that the Government’s announcement that schools will not open to all pupils before the summer is a sensible recognition of the limits in terms of what schools can provide given the current requirements for social distancing.

“With the announcement, the Government have also said they are due to provide further guidance on how schools that have capacity may be able to bring back more children in smaller class sizes before the summer holidays.

“We will support our schools in reviewing such guidance once it arrives.”

Katherine Spencer is the headteacher at Madley Brook Primary School in Witney, one of RLT’s schools.

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She said: “A huge amount of work has gone into getting our school ready to welcome back our youngest and oldest pupils.

“The children are clearly happy to be back, and I am hearing some lovely personal stories from mums and dads of the impact that the return has had.

“We are hopeful that more eligible children will return before the end of term.

“Our experience is that the hard work in getting children back to school is worth it.”

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Oxford Diocesan Schools Trust (ODST) said it was ‘not a surprise’ that the Government suspended the return of years two to five.

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They added: “Logistically, the return of more year groups would have meant most schools would not be able to maintain current social distancing measures such as small class ‘bubbles’.

“Many primary schools are already using all their classrooms and staff for the bubbles already in school.

“Many ODST schools will still try to enable all years two to five children to return to school for at least a short period before the summer holidays, to allow them to spend time with their friends and teachers and to become familiar with the school environment again.”

Richard Evans, chief executive officer at Vale Academy Trust, said: “Each school’s site was carefully assessed so that we could put the maximum social distancing and hygiene measures in place for the safety of children and staff on that site.

“Whilst we’d obviously like to get all the children back to school as soon as possible, the unusual circumstances and ever-changing Government plans have created uncertainties and frustrations that have tested the resilience and resolve of everyone.”