Bulwell Academy's 15-minute lunchtime 'has worked extremely well', says head teacher

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The head teacher of a Nottingham secondary school has thanked parents for the "overwhelming support" following the introduction of new measures.

Principal of Bulwell Academy, Michelle Strong, says new routines for coronavirus safety, including changes to lunchtime, have gone "smoothly".

To allow the academy's six year groups to eat safely in their 'bubbles', pupils are given 15 minutes in the canteen and then 15 minutes outside.

This means the dining room can be cleaned in between and there is no loss to learning time.

Ms Strong said: “I’m proud this academy is providing a hot meal to every child who would like one.

“We have created six different lunchtimes without losing learning time, with space in between to clean the dining room. It has worked extremely well.

“There are no queues so some students have found they have more time to eat. 

“They understand why we have brought in the changes. They and our parents have been brilliant throughout the pandemic and it is important we continue to receive their support.

“Only by working together with our families will we successfully get through this pandemic.”

However, there were concerns raised by the guardian of a child at the school who said the 15 minutes was not long enough.

Speaking to Nottinghamshire Live, the guardian, who asked not to be named, said: "We were given the details on the changes, but it was only when I noticed [the child] was coming home with a half eaten packed lunch that I asked what was going on.

"They said 'I didn't have time'.

"I know the changes are important and for Covid safety but the kids need food for fuel and the rest of the day.

"I think it's mainly in the secondary schools where this is a problem, but it concerns me for children who may not get as much food at home."

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When the guardian spoke to the school about the concerns they were told 'tweaks' would be made if needed.

Ms Strong added: “I would like to thank students, their families and staff for their overwhelmingly support in the first few days of term.

“They have quickly adapted to the new way of doing things. Any minor issues have been dealt with swiftly and appropriately. We will continue to make further tweaks, if necessary, after listening to Student Voice.

“Our priority when drawing up our procedures and protocols to deal with the threat of coronavirus was to keep students and staff safe.

“We understand change can be difficult, but we have communicated clearly what we have done and why.

“Parents with any concerns should not hesitate to contact the academy.” 

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