Smiles and screams as children return to 'challenging' new school environment

  • Watch Max Walsh's report.

The headteacher of a school in Weston-super-Mare has told ITV News that reopening has been an 'incredible challenge' amid changing government guidelines and growing concerns about safety.

Emma Hardy-Smith, who runs St Anne's Church Academy, insists they are now prepared for any potential outbreak of coronavirus after introducing a number of measures to make the school "as safe as possible".

St Anne's Church Academy was one of hundreds of schools to fully open its doors on Monday. Attendance appeared to be high, with many parents expressing their relief that school was open once again. But it wasn't completely back to normal. 

Classes are now effectively in bubbles which means they have to play, eat and be taught together. Mixing with other staff or children is strictly off-limits. Regular hand sanitising has also been introduced, along with staggered break times and different entrance and exit points.

Children at St Anne's Church Academy line up in the playground before heading back into school

Dr Emma Coombe, who specialises in paediatric medicine, believes the risk of coronavirus spreading in schools is relatively low.

Some children have been away from the classroom for more than five months, and teachers agree it is vital to get them back into the routine of school, so they can resume their education once again.