A PRIMARY school opened the gates to Year Five children yesterday as it welcomed them back for the first time in more than 100 days.

Heathfield Primary School is one of only a handful of schools across the country to invite the year group back to school.

Most schools are only open to nursery, reception, Year One and Year Six children ­- but because welcoming those children back safely in a staggered way worked so well at Heathfield Primary, the Daubhill school was able to offer another class the opportunity to come back if their parents wished.

And there were plenty of smiles, if a few tired eyes, as the children walked back into school.

Headteacher Mark Thornley said they were able to take advantage of the school building to welcome back another year group safely.

He said: “I was very pleased to welcome the children back.

“The health and safety of all of all of the Heathfield family is a priority and we are very fortunate to have external doors to the classroom so children can walk in from the playground to their class.

“The children are working in teams, which is a bubble,” he added

“It is an important year for pupils starting in September and we wanted to give them the opportunity to have time together with no pressure and get them back into learning and the Heathfield way to make the transition easier when we bring them back in September.”

He added: “When I asked the children if they were glad to be back some said yes and others said they were not used to getting up early.”

The decision to bring back Year Five pupils was made in conjunction with staff and parents, with families being sent photographs and maps on how they would be brought back safely in line with social distancing measures.

The school has also implemented additional hygiene and infection control measures.

Mr Thornley said: “Parents have a direct email to me and can contact me any time.”

and that is monitored 24/7. Teachers, who have gone above and beyond during this time, are still providing home learning for those who are not in school.

“They are in touch with families, sometimes three times a week and have visited families. We had two teaching assistants out delivering school reports by hand .”

Chairman of Governors Zulfi Jiva said: “We have always been proactive as a school, and we had a good response from parents in bringing back the other year groups. As we had already planned for those year group, with our committed staff, who have worked so hard, we were able to open to Year Five, because it is a big year for them next year.”