There was excitement and lots of smiles today as primary schools in Wales started to welcome back some of their youngest pupils.
In line with Welsh Government guidance pupils in the Foundation Phase (3 to 7-year-olds) are going back into class this week.
Measures are in place to make each school as safe as possible and headteachers say they had received lots of support from staff and parents.
Alison Williams, headteacher at Craigfelin Primary School in Clydach, said: “We are delighted to see so many smiling faces this morning, both children and parents.
“Once again our community has been amazing throughout the latest period of remote learning and because of the tremendous efforts of our fantastic families and our wonderfully dedicated staff all our foundation phase pupils have returned to school eager to see their friends and enjoy their activities.
“I cannot thank everyone enough for yet again ensuring our children have been fully supported and prepared for the latest return to school.”
At Oystermouth School headteacher Caroline Morgan said it had been emotional to see pupils return.
She added: “Parents have been amazing and they are so supportive of the school. I think they and the children have found this lockdown harder than previously so I think they are very keen for the children to return.
“Parents will be understandably concerned about their children coming back but I think my parents are confident that we have all the appropriate safety measures in place and that the school learning environment remains as COVID-safe as possible.
“The Foundation Phase teachers have planned an exciting fun day and we will be focusing on the wellbeing of the children, restoring relationships with their friends and teachers. I want the children to feel safe and happy as this is essential for them to be able to learn.”
Dylan Saer, headteacher at Crwys Primary School in Three Crosses, said: “It’s been great to welcome pupils back to school and I’m delighted to see that all families have put their trust in us with 100% attendance.
“Thanks obviously goes to our committed and professional staff who have not only worked hard to make school as safe and as welcoming as they can in these unprecedented times, but thanks also for their efforts in keeping pupils educated over the lockdown period.
“Hopefully all will go well over the next two and a half weeks, ensuring that we’ll be able to welcome back our older pupils sooner rather than later.”
At the moment older primary and secondary school pupils will continue with learning from home but Welsh Government Ministers have indicated that all primary school pupils and some secondary school pupils may be able to start returning from March 15. Families will be contacted directly before any change is made.
Lead image: Children return to Craigfelin school in Clydach (Swansea Council)