Pupils health and safety is the “number one priority” education bosses in Huntingdonshire say, as it is made mandatory for children to return to school from September.

Schools and colleges to re-open in full from September, says Gavin Williamson.Schools and colleges to re-open in full from September, says Gavin Williamson.

Leaders say they will “carefully plan” how to put in place new Government guidance to ensure that they have a safe environment for staff and pupils for the start of the academic year.

It comes as education secretary Gavin Williamson announced yesterday (July 2) that children must return to school in September with “class or year sized bubbles” and access to home testing kits, if needed.

The Astrea Academy Trust , that oversees Longsands and Ernulf academies in St Neots and St Ivo Academy, in St Ives, said they were “eager to welcome all students back”.

Benedick Ashmore-Short, interim CEO of the Astrea Academy Trust, said: “It is essential that we can continue to offer every single child in our care an education that inspires beyond measure, and we are committed to ensuring they receive a full curriculum and any catch up required to meet their individual needs as soon as possible.

“Our wider reopening for students in Year 10 and Year 12, continues to be a success, for both pupils and staff.

“Safety will always be our number one priority, and we are confident we can continue to provide a safe environment for all year groups and staff in the autumn, based on scientific advice and government guidance.”

The Cambridge Primary Education Trust (CPET) that runs Somersham Primary School, said they would update parents and carers by the end of term, after meeting with their trustees to “agree a course of action”.

Lesley Birch, CEO/executive principal, said: “We note the guidance for the full opening of schools published by the Department for Education.

“We will update parents and carers across our five schools on our plans for September by the end of term (July 17) but, as has been the case throughout this unprecedented period, the health and safety of our pupils, colleagues and their families is the single most important priority for the trust.”

The Cambridge Meridian Academies Trust (CMAT) who run Sawtry Village Academy and Sawtry Junior Academy, said there was a “pressing need to address any gaps in students’ learning”.

Mark Woods, chief executive officer for CMAT, said: “Implementing the guidance safely and fully will require all schools to carefully plan. Schools have different sites, transport arrangements and curriculum structures which all need to be reviewed. This will take a little time.

“We will update parents and the wider community on what arrangements for September will look like in the coming days.

“As with the return of students in some year groups already, our priority will be safety, balanced with the pressing need to address any gaps in students’ learning and their social and emotional development.

“We are excited to be able to now plan for full opening from September. We miss the students and can’t wait to welcome everyone back.”

Following the announcement, readers commented their thoughts and concerns on social media.

Emily Wright said: “I work in education and we need to get children back. However, I’m a little worried about the different start and finishing times as not sure how I’m supposed to get/collect my children to school and be at the school I work at if the timings are all different.”

Robert West said: “How does isolating a year group work, when mixed years get the bus together? Or their teachers need to rotate?”

Education secretary Mr Williamson said: “Schools and colleges will need to work with families to secure regular attendance from the start of the new academic year with the reintroduction of mandatory attendance.

“With Covid-secure measures in place so they have the opportunity to thrive and fulfil their full potential.”

WHAT DO YOU THINK? Email Clare Butler at: clare.butler@archant.co.uk.