With the government making the anticipated announcement that all schools will open fully on March 8th, the question has arisen as to which whole school workshops can be booked by schools? The simple answer is all of them. However each school must assess the risks that this may prevent to their individual setting.
Schools have now been given the challenge of opening to all pupils. This is an exciting step the country is making in returning to a more normal way of life. Many children across the UK have missed considerable amounts of school over the last 12 months. There have been three lock down. Hopefully now with careful planning and rule following we will be able to safely open schools and allow the young people of this country to continue with their education.
So what kinds of whole school workshops are suitable for schools to book?
Some school workshop providers have adapted well and introduced virtual shows. Although not as good as actually having a visitor come into school these virtual shows enabled the school children to increase their cultural capital by experiencing a rich and wide curriculum. Two such examples were planetarium shows delivered by Wonderdome and Animal experiences delivered by ZooLab.
Schools returning to being fully open means that they will be able to facilitate all types of planetarium shows. What schools need to do is carefully risk assess each show and put a plan in place to ensure Covid guidelines are adhered to. Please see below for the kinds of plans schools need to make.
Planning a school workshop visit
Step 1: Decide why you are booking this workshop. Does it enhance the school curriculum? Is it good value for money?
Step 2: Decide which groups of children will access the workshop. Consider if it will be all the school or just certain year groups. If you do want to include more than one class or year group decisions will need to be made around working in bubbles.
Step 3: Ensuring that you are Covid compliant. Even though schools are fully open they will still have to follow strict guidelines. Schools are working in bubbles and when a workshop comes to visit the bubbles need to be compliant.
Step 4: Communicate with the workshop provider to make sure they understand your rules. They will need to be sent the school risk assessment in advance.
Step 5: Following the visit have a review meeting to discuss how well the workshop went and decide if further changes need to be made in the future.
Schools must return to the place they were pre-Covid. The children in this country deserve an education that includes a wide range of cultural experiences.
However, what schools need to do now is carefully plan how they can reintroduce all the wonderful activities that used to take place. Risk assessments are a vital tool in enabling such measures to be taken.
All school workshops can return to school over the coming months. But now schools and workshop providers need to work together to ensure we can keep schools open and not have to revert to further lockdowns.