Children across Wiltshire have been forced to demonstrate maturity beyond their years in responding to constant changes in their teaching.

But after a year of changes, at least for the staff and children at Dauntsey’s Academy Primary School (DAPS), friendships are stronger than ever.

The village school got a ‘good’ Ofsted rating last March, and inspectors praised pupils’ listening skills, the lack of bullying and exciting school trips to museums, as far as Bristol and London.

But since lockdown hit DAPS, like all others, had to adapt quickly. School trips are out the question, classes can’t come together for lunch and after school club places are capped - staff and governors at the school say that children have been dealing with the changes very well.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald:

Interim headteacher, Caroline Jackson, explained that it had been important to discuss how pupils were feeling - and how happy they were to be back in the classroom.

“I think I think children in general have found obviously it really hard,” she said.

“It's a very close school. I think in the early days, it was difficult for everyone to balance both home schooling and virtual teaching. It was a progressive operation catering for two different learning groups.”

School governors, who have been working with school staff throughout the pandemic, also highlighted how virtual meetings have helped some of their board.

Saving travel costs, as well as time in general, suits many busy parents.



“But there will always be a place for face-to-face meetings,” said Emily Muns, whose children Buddy and Ruby go to DAPS.

“It’s the same with the children, some really did enjoy elements of home schooling, but they also really missed their friends.

“Ruby is six, and I don’t think she remembers life before the pandemic! It was her birthday recently, and she didn’t ask once for a party. Children really have learned to live with the pandemic."

Chris Thorne, director of the board of governors at DAPS, added: “There’s been no one fire one-size-fits-all approach by any school throughout all this, and the experiences of children has been very different.

“I think a lot of the children here really missed their sport, and now that’s beginning to open up should be a huge boost for them.

“The more we can do to support outside activity, particularly with the summer weather coming, will present some lovely opportunities.”

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald:

Children themselves at DAPS said they “loved” the chance for outdoor lessons and, while home schooling had been a fun novelty, the majority were pleased to be reunited with their peers.

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The school is hopeful that their Sports Day will be able to take place in summer.

Mrs Jackson added: “We’re sort of calling this the recovery curriculum, and catching up with the children after what they've been doing at home.

"It's been very different for each family, especially if both parents are working, so we want to make sure each class feels up to speed.

"There's a huge sense of community here, we just can't wait to get everyone back together properly in the months to come."