From socially distanced lessons to making new friends: The concerns of young people as schools reopen

Video report by ITV Wales Reporter Kate Lewis

Millions of students across Wales and England are returning to the classroom as schools and colleges begin to reopen.

Pupils in Scotland and Northern Ireland went back to school last month.

Local authorities across Wales are taking different approaches with the time frame for reopening - the first time many schools have welcomed back students since March.

It comes after the Education Minister said a decision on whether to delay exams next year is currently under review.

11-year-old Macsen Davies starts at a new school on Thursday. Credit: ITV Wales

Macsen Davies, from Miskin, is due to start at a new secondary school on Thursday. He is concerned about the challenges social distancing could bring to the classroom.

"It does bother me a bit because if we do have to socially distance and they can't have as many people in a class, it might feel a bit different and be harder to learn."

The 11-year-old felt uncertain about what to expect from secondary school due to a lack of open evenings as a result of the pandemic.

He also spoke of his disappointment over missing out on a proper send off from primary school.

"We've been waiting three or four years for the last year of school and now it's gone. We missed out on stuff like sports days and school shows.

"We didn't really have a final day together, and we have a lot of people going to different schools."

His mother, Elaine Davies, said she is relieved to see Macsen return to school.

"It's been a long six months trying to home school them, trying to work, just general life and they desperately need it.

"They need the interaction with their teachers, with their friends, they need to go back to school."

Catrin Mohammad-Smart got the bus to her new college on Wednesday morning. Credit: ITV Wales

Catrin Mohammad-Smart said she was nervous about her first day at college, but was excited to start something new.

"I didn't really know what was going on, I didn't know if we were going to college," she said.

"It was a bit scary, I didn't know what was going to happen but I've just had to adjust to what's going on and get on with it."

The teenager said leaving school was a "weird" experience.

"I literally walked out on my last day not knowing it was my last day, and everything just ended so quickly. It was a bit scary."

Edwards Coaches, based in Llantrisant, takes around 6000 children to schools across south Wales every day. Credit: ITV Wales

It's not just pupils and teachers adjusting to a new routine - coach companies that provide school transport have said they are learning as they go along.

Edwards Coaches, based in Llantrisant, takes around 6000 children to schools across south Wales every day.

Managing Director Jason Edwards said: "It's been really tough. Our transport office is just full of cleaning agents and risk assessments.

"We've done everything I think we possibly can to get the children safely to school, on time, and give our drivers complete confidence in what we are doing.

"It's the full package really again. It's something we've not had to do before but we are learning as we are going along."