School trust welcomes Covid guidelines relaxation for summer camps

Summer camp at Hethersett Academy

PUpils take part in rugby during summer camp at Hethersett Academy. - Credit: Inspiration Trust

A Norfolk academy trust which is planning summer camps has welcomed changes that mean children will not have to self-isolate if a member of their group bubble tests positive for coronavirus.

Education secretary Gavin Williamson this week announced the end of the school “bubbling” system from July 19, the same day that wider restrictions in England are to be lifted.

The move will come too late to help many schools, which will have already broken up for the summer holidays, but will apply to summer camps and other activities for children during the break.

With planning for summer school in full swing, the change that means summer camps and holiday activities can go ahead without disruption.

Gareth Stevens, chief executive of Inspiration Trust

Gareth Stevens, chief executive of Inspiration Trust. - Credit: Inspiration Trust

The Inspiration Trust, a multi-academy trust supporting 14 schools across Norfolk and north Suffolk, has given the green light to rolling out activities for Year 6 children due to start secondary school in September. 

It includes drama and dance workshops, leadership masterclasses and sports and more.

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Trust chief executive Gareth Stevens said: “This is extremely welcome news and very timely. A huge amount of work and funding has gone into planning engaging and inspirational summer camps that will really help children not only catch up, but to reconnect and socialise with each other.

Wayland Academy science lesson

Wayland Academy will host a summer camp based around normal GCSE lessons to help with catch-up learning. - Credit: Inspiration Trust

“We will have over 1,000 children taking part in a whole range of activities as part of our summer camps programme. The big concern, however, was that the bubble system could have brought all of that to a screeching halt.”

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Wayland Academy will host a week of Year 6 activities around transition, literacy, resilience and team building, while Year 10 pupils will be completing two weeks based around normal GCSE lessons. 

Cromer Academy will hold two week Year 6 and 10 camps, with academic subjects in the morning with sport and creative activities in the afternoon.  

Arts activities at Cromer Academy.

Arts activities at Cromer Academy. - Credit: Inspiration Trust

“It would have been a crying shame if all that time and money went to waste,” said Mr Stevens. “Too many days have already been lost to education, and we need to make the most of every moment we can with our children. This news will help us do that.”

From autumn the school bubble system is expected to be replaced with more intensive daily tests in an effort to reduce the disruption that has seen hundreds of pupils being sent home.

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