Pupils 'wait patiently in the rain' as thousands return to lessons and testing at Doncaster schools today

Schools across Doncaster returned to a post-lockdown era this morning, with youngsters queueing for tests early today.

Wednesday, 10th March 2021, 8:12 am

Some pupils at schools across the borough had already been tested, with some lateral flow tests to make sure they were clear of the coronavirus having been carried out on Friday at many schools.

Schools have been open through lockdown for children of critical workers and vulnerable youngsters, but have not been fully open to all pupils since they broke up for Christmas.

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File picture of McAuley Catholic High School, Doncaster. Ross Parry

Among those returning this morning were the year 10, 12 and 13 pupils at McAuley School, with testing carried out early, ahead of lessons starting properly. The school’s year 11s are due back tomorrow in a phased return.

Headteacher John Rooney said they were running testing for year 10s this morning with full lessons from break.

He said: “In statistical terms we are getting through 140 students per hour and have had a remarkable response from parents with 96 per cent giving consent to the testing.”

He said his key message to pupils this morning as they patiently waited in the rain was that it was a second new start, but some things had stayed the same, such as pupil ‘bubbles', a one way system, teachers travelling to lessons rather than pupils. Lunch times are still split, and there were hygiene and behaviour expectations around the site.

Bradley Hardacre, 16, pictured taking a test at McAuley Catholic High School. NDFP-09-03-21-McAuley 3-NMSY

But he said some things had changed including the expectations that face coverings will be worn in all social areas, including classrooms, until Easter.

Children will be tested for Covid at school and at home with kits and details to follow when they arrive.

Mr Rooney also told pupils there would be a change in emphasis with more attention on year 10s who would have a big 19 days until Easter.

On Friday, March 5, the school completed over 250 Lateral Flow Tests for sixth formers, all of which returned negative results.

Chloe Mawer, 15, pictured taking a test at McAuley Catholic High School. NDFP-09-03-21-McAuley 5-NMSY

Assistant headteacher James Tucker added: “It is fantastic to have the school filling up with pupils again

“By the end of this week we have a full school with many having completed their second lateral flow test. Staff pupils and parents/carers have really pulled together.”

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.

Pupils pictured waiting to get tested at McAuley Catholic High School. NDFP-09-03-21-McAuley 1-NMSY
l-r Mackenzie Scholes, 16, Jemima Teasdale, 15, Lewis Needham, 16, Chloe Mawer, 15 and Chester Gillan, 15, pictured at McAuley Catholic High School. NDFP-09-03-21-McAuley 2-NMSY