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Education

Council launches webpage to support Crawley and Sussex children going back to school

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A new webpage has been created to prepare and support West Sussex children to go back or start school with confidence.

Full of key information and content, the Back to School resource on the West Sussex County Council website is designed to give children and their families everything they need for returning in September.

It features a video recorded by West Sussex pupils who went back to school last term, speaking about some of the changes to help reassure children who have been away from school for some time about what they can expect.

Information is provided on:

• Returning to school in a ‘bubble’
• Exam results
• Mealtime arrangements
• Support with emotional wellbeing and for children with additional needs
• Family summer activities 
• Travelling to school

West Sussex County Council shares the government’s ambition for every school-age child to be back from the start of the new academic year. The coronavirus restrictions since March 20 mean that the majority of the county’s near 115,000 school-age children won’t have been in school for nearly six months when they go back – so it’s crucial they feel ready, supported and confident to return along with their parents and carers.

Nigel Jupp, West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said:

“We share the desire for all school-age children to get back to school safely, especially after so many missed out on much of their valuable education during the school lockdown restrictions.

“Our Education Team continues to support school staff and governors in their meticulous preparation and risk assessments ahead of September. It’s so important that every child and young person feels ready and confident about returning, and for families to be assured that all the necessary safety measures are being put in place.

“As well as speaking to their school about the individual changes being made, I really hope families find this new webpage a useful tool to use together.”

Throughout the pandemic, West Sussex schools remained open for children of key workers and those who are vulnerable, and welcomed additional pupils back from June 1. The county’s attendance figures was significantly higher than the national average, with nearly 22% of pupils attending school towards the end of the summer term, compared to the national average of 16.9%.* 

This was made possible by the dedication and cooperation of school leaders in following the national health guidance on keeping staff and pupils safe, while also supporting their parents and carers who were home-schooling.

Community

New £100k pedestrian crossing for families’ taking children to school installed in West Green

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West Green Primary School Business Manager Annette pictured trying the new crossing with her daughter before the school reopened.

A new pedestrian crossings has been installed in the past few months and is now operational, helping families with the walk to a school in West Green.

The crossing in Crawley cost £100,00 and is aimed to improve safety for families with school-age children – plus pedestrians generally.

With schools reopening and roads becoming busier after lockdown, people are being encouraged to leave their cars at home and consider other travel choices.

Roger Elkins, Cabinet Member for Highways and Infrastructure, said:

“The new crossings provide a safer route to schools for families and to other local amenities for pedestrians generally.

“People are being encouraged to consider walking or cycling for their journeys, if they can. It’s a great way to get fit, save fuel money and reduce the number of cars on the road. This in turn will improve air quality and reduce congestion.”

West Green Primary School requested the Puffin crossing for West Green Drive and worked with the county council’s transport improvements team to build the case for road safety improvements.

Other enhancements had already been introduced, including ‘School Keep Clear’ markings, to provide pupils and parents with a safer environment.

Throughout this process, West Green continued to provide pupils with road safety education and encourage sustainable travel.

West Green Primary School Business Manager Annette Tomsett said:

“The school is delighted to have worked closely with West Sussex County Council in bringing to fruition this crossing. It will make a huge difference in the safe route to school for our pupils and families, alongside having a positive impact for the whole community for now and for the future.”

The improvements cost a total of about £100,000.

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