Half term

Buttercup meadow by Hannah Foley. All rights reserved (www.hannah-foley-co.uk)

The word ‘half term’ has lost a bit of its significance during lockdown. I mean, is it half term? Are we sure? Is it still May? And what day of the week is it anyway? But no, it’s definitely half term. We hurriedly applied for last minute annual leave when we heard the children’s school would be closed in preparation for the phased return of pupils next week. Our usual rota of grandparents, aunties or a holiday club not options at the moment.

It seems that schools all over the country are managing things differently according to availability of staff and the nature of the facilities they have to work with. My niece will be going in to school three days one week and two days the next. Little Owl, Finch and Wren will be going in almost full-time but will be taught each in a separate ‘pod’ of fifteen children based on age by three dedicated staff. Each pod will have an allocated area of the school building, and an allocated slice of outdoor space. Fortunately it’s a modern building which is easy to segregate. If all goes well with keyworker children, they will begin bringing back other year groups. The unspoken issue remains that under those conditions all the children won’t fit in the school and there won’t be enough teachers. It’s a logistical nightmare.

So we are dusting off uniforms and Finch is cross about having to wear collars again. And we watch the newly arrived swifts screech over head, and compete to spot blue tit bottoms disappearing through the front door of the bird box on the gable end.

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