Teachers and pupils are “rising to the challenge” as they adapt to new routines in a hub school for the children of key workers in Edinburgh.
Drummond Community High School is acting as a hub for 12 schools in the city, taking children from P1 through to S2.
There are currently 29 children on the register and the headteachers of the 12 schools take it in turn to lead each day, bringing teachers from their own schools with them.
The children have been split into six groups with no more than six pupils per class to adhere to social distancing measures, though siblings are kept in the same class as they can interact freely together.
Social distancing measures are also in place in the lunch hall, while classes take it in turns to rotate around different areas of the playground.
Stephen Gilhooley, quality improvement officer for North East schools in Edinburgh, said that children have adapted well to the situation.
He said: “They are coping remarkably well. The children understand that they have to stay away from each other, they understand they are being put at polar ends of tables for particular reasons and are adapting quite well.
“The siblings are no problem, they can play together but for the others it’s more chat rather than playing together.
“Children instinctively gather round a game or computer or whatever in normal circumstances.
“Now we can let them have a chat at a distance and it’s a lot of individual activities where children are busy and the leader in charge is facilitating discussion. We are trying to make it fun and interesting.
“We have to ensure the key workers’ children are safe and happy and the parents don’t have additional worry on their behalf.”
He said that children also seem to be enjoying meeting pupils from other schools in the city.
The classes are made up of children roughly the same age as there may not be enough children to make a class of just one year group.
Mr Gilhooley said that teachers are rising to the challenge of teaching in a different environment.
He said: “It’s allowing our staff to think out of the box a bit more and be a bit more creative and responsive to the children learning as well.”
When not working in the hub school teachers are working from home doing distance learning and virtual learning with their own classes.
Mr Gilhooley said he has been impressed by the dedication of staff during this unprecedented situation.
He said: “I think everybody who can who is healthy and their wellbeing is normal is wanting to do more and be involved as much as possible and we are not short of people who are willing to man the hubs, who are wanting to contact families and make sure they are safe and secure and managing to learn in some shape or form.
“Some are creating packs to make sure they have the right resources.
“The attitude of everyone I’ve come across has been exemplary. It’s humbling, everyone is wanting to do the best they can for their school.
“People are rising to the challenge.”