PUPILS across South Somerset returned to school with a smile last week.

Children have seen restricted holidays due to lockdown precautions, and finished last term unable to see some schools divided to reduce a risk of Covid-19.

Some schools have only been able to accept children of key workers until this month.

Holyrood Academy welcomed children back last week.

Headteacher David MacCormick said: “The staff are delighted to welcome back their students after a period of absence affecting most of them.

“Holyrood, like all schools, has remained open to serve the community since March and now opened its doors to all students.

“The students have demonstrated tremendous resilience and positivity during a difficult time and we are now focused upon helping them to achieve the very best outcomes possible.”

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BACK IN ACTION: Holyrood School pupils in assembly after their school return

Swanmead School in Ilminster had a staggered return for pupils, before they were all back behind desks last Tuesday.

Headteacher Mark Walker added: “It is amazing to see them back in the classroom learning and being together again.

“These children, particularly the ones that are new to the school, are some of the bravest I have ever met.

“To return to school within this situation after being away for around six months is incredible.

“The fact they even made it through the front door was an achievement let alone how they show such empathy for each other and such enthusiasm to be back at school. Parents and the local community should be hugely proud.”

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ALL SMILES: Cheerful children at Swanmead School

The children of Manor Court Primary School, in Chard, returned to school on Monday, September 7.

Luke Talmage, headteacher said: “It has been a pleasure welcoming children back and with them many new starters.

“Children and parents have quickly become accustomed to the staggered starts and new way of communicating with the child’s teacher and the school office.

“Within the school the children remain in their ‘bubbles’ at all time and at morning break and lunchtime the ‘bubbles’ remain as we have cordoned off the school playgrounds.”

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READY TO LEARN: Smiles at Manor Court last week

Chard Independent School was back in the classroom earlier than most, starting on September 3.

The children are taught in separate Pre-Prep and Prep ‘bubbles’ with staggered lunch sittings and playtimes.

Headteacher Katie Hill said “There was much excitement and huge smiles all round as we welcomed everyone back for the Autumn Term.

“As a small school we are lucky that we are able keep a relatively ‘normal’ feel to the day whilst adhering to government guidelines and keeping our environment safe for the teachers and children.”

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IN CLASS: Pupils on their return to Chard Independent School

Claire Oaten, headteacher at Greenfylde, said it was ‘wonderful’ to have children back in the school.

“We are enjoying rebuilding our community focusing on wellbeing and belonging and just finding the fun again in learning together at school,” said Miss Oaten.

“Our aim is to offer as wide a curriculum as before including finding creative ways to still engage and celebrate all our community links and events that are so important to the life of our school.

“All the smiling faces and laughter make all the work in re-opening the school worthwhile and we couldn’t have done this without the unfailing commitment and support that we have received from our whole school community."

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FUN: Kids have been welcome back to Greenfylde School, in Ilminster

Children at Redstart School, in Chard, are also observing playtime bubbles.

Rebecca Collins, head of school, said: “We were delighted to welcome back our children to Redstart and it was wonderful to see their happy, smiley faces as they came into school.

“It didn’t take long to feel like we had never been away and all the children showed how adaptable and resilient they are in dealing with the new routine.

“They are happily washing hands regularly and staying within their playground zones and bubbles.”

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ARRIVAL: Children returning to Redstart School last week