PUPILS from a primary school in North Yorkshire have spent time at ‘big school' thanks to partnership working.

When schools were given the green light for wider opening last month, Riccall Primary faced the problem of safely accommodating the returning students on their own premises, because of social distancing rules.

Thanks to an ongoing partnership between the schools, the team at Barlby High School have welcomed 30 Year 6 pupils from Riccall and their teachers into school last week.

In bubbles of 15, they have been using the teaching rooms and facilities at Barlby High, in a move to ensure they could return to learning safely, whilst also enjoying the experience of attending a secondary school.

Living in lockdown has meant that Year 6 children across the country have not been able to visit their chosen secondary school, let alone take part in induction activities, which would normally help ease the transition from primary to secondary.

Julie Caddell, Principal at Barlby High School, was delighted to welcome the group into school.

She said: “It’s so important that our young people get back to school safely, but quickly, not only for their education, but also for their wellbeing.

“Like other schools across the UK, Barlby High has been open throughout lockdown, for vulnerable and key worker children, but we had lots of rooms which were standing empty, so we were more than happy to work with our friends at Riccall.

"They have brought lots more energy into the school and this opportunity has also given the children chance to familiarise themselves with Barlby High, before they move to secondary school in September.”

Nick Styles, head teacher at Riccall Primary School, added: “We’re so grateful that we could work closely with Barlby High School to offer this opportunity to our Year 6 children.

"It has been a great way to offer the children a chance to experience learning in a secondary school, before they start in Year 7.

"Lots of the children had real anxiety about starting a new school without the chance to visit first. Thanks to our partnership, the children will be able to enjoy their summer and can look forward to starting their new adventure in Year 7.”

Barlby High School Hope Learning Trust, York is part of the Hope Learning Trust, alongside nine other primary and secondary schools across York and North Yorkshire. As The Press reported last month, Hope plans to merge with the Sentamu Academy Learning Trust, to form Hope Sentamu Learning Trust. The new trust will include six secondary, seven primary and two alternative provision academies.