Lewisham Council bosses have written to reassure parents and carers as pupils return to schools during this “worrying time”.  

Pupils across the UK returned to school last week.  

In the joint letter, Pinaki Ghoshal, executive director for children and young people, and Dr Catherine Mbema, director of public health, stressed that the health and safety of everyone involved is a “top priority”.  

They wrote: “It’s been an unsettling six months for us all, and our children have needed to adjust to life without their school routine and regular contact with classmates, teachers and friends.  

“We know all schools are excited to have pupils back and are looking forward to learning together again. 

“School is the place to be for a number of reasons. Going to school is vital for your child’s educational development, mental and physical wellbeing, social development, and sense of routine. 

“That said, we understand that this will be a worrying time, and you may be feeling anxious about the re-opening of schools and sending your children back. 

“We can assure you that the health and safety of children, school staff and their families is our top priority.  

“We want to reassure you that schools in Lewisham have spent the summer holidays putting in place a number of measures to protect children, staff and families and help prevent the spread of Covid-19.” 

They said the council is “hugely grateful” to all the teachers and school staff “who have worked so hard” during the pandemic and preparing for schools to reopen.  

“Many children will have been away from the classroom for a long time and they may be nervous.  

“Most children will adapt quickly and your school will be able to provide support to those who need more help.  

“There is lots of mental health support available for children and young people if you feel you need some advice or extra help,” they wrote. 

Headteachers, who welcomed back pupils in Lewisham last week, also reassured the public about safety in schools. 

Jonathan Ronan, principal at Bonus Pastor Catholic College, said: “The Bonus Pastor community have worked very hard over the summer to ensure that our school building is safe and ready to welcome back all students this September.  

“We have enjoyed very successful summer transition and tutoring programmes during the holidays and feel well prepared for the challenges ahead.  

“All teachers and staff are eager to help all students get back to some normality in school, whilst remaining safe at all times and continuing to thrive in their education.  

“We are very much looking forward to having all students back in school, where they belong.” 

The head of Beecroft School, Graham Voller, welcomed everyone back. 

“Just wanted to say how wonderful it was to welcome everyone back to school yesterday, really lovely to see so many happy, smiling faces.  

“Thank you to all our parents and cares for you continuing support during this challenging time,” he said.  

Coopers Lane Primary tweeted: “What a magical first day! Thank you to the amazing staff for getting the school ready, thank you to our parents and carers for managing so well at home for so long, but most of all thank you to the children for filling Coopers Lane with happiness.”