Nottingham City Council Leader Cllr David Mellen has praised the way schools, parents, and children and young people have responded to the Covid-19 crisis and lockdown.

Speaking on the last day of the school year, Cllr Mellen said he was proud of the way people in Nottingham have pulled together to cope with the disruption since lockdown began on 23 March.

Parents and carers have faced the challenge of home schooling, while teachers and support staff ensured schools stayed open throughout lockdown for the children of key workers as well as to children who are vulnerable.

Cllr Mellen said: “These have been unprecedented times, but I am proud of the way our city has responded. It has not been easy – schools had very short notice about lockdown but they have ensured provision continued for those children who needed to be in school.

“I’d like to thank everyone who helped to make this happen: head teachers, teachers, teaching assistants – not forgetting all the other unsung heroes that work behind the scenes to keep our schools running. Everyone played a part in getting us through these difficult times.”

Many schools in Nottingham began to bring pupils back in small groups in June, prioritising primary pupils in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6.

Cllr Mellen added: “I’m pleased that the council was able to work with our public health teams, schools and teaching unions to ensure that, when the time was right, schools were able to reopen safely to wider numbers of children in small class ‘bubbles’.

“A huge amount of planning and preparation went into this process to ensure our children were able return to school as safely as possible.”

Cllr Mellen also praised early years settings, such as nurseries, that also supported the children of key workers during the crisis. “Everyone has worked so hard to keep our children safe,” he said. “Our nurseries and childminders played an essential part in ensuring our key workers were able to continue in their vital roles in tackling the Covid outbreak and keeping our country going.”

Parents and carers were also praised for home schooling over the last 18 weeks. “This has been a long and difficult journey. I would like to acknowledge the hard work of parents and carers throughout lockdown – many juggling working from home while trying to provide home school support for children. I know this has been a huge challenge.” 

Planning is well underway for schools to reopen to all year groups when the new academic year starts in September. Cllr Mellen said: “We will continue to support head teachers to ensure schools are ready for pupils to return safely for the new academic year.”