TWO primary schools are trying to attract new prospective parents and pupils with virtual tours.

Bugthorpe and Sutton Upon Derwent CE Primary Schools in East Yorkshire have 65 and 72 pupils on roll respectively and, due to the pandemic it’s been hard to conduct school visits in the usual way.

Bracken Holtby, executive head of both schools, said: “Birth rates in our immediate locality can be low. It is therefore integral to encourage prospective parents to visit our schools so they can get a feel for our loving school families. Obviously, due to Covid-19, this is proving to be difficult. We therefore decided to go down the virtual tour route so that our door is open, and everyone can come in and see what we have to offer. This is also a great benefit to current parents too, who can see what the learning environment looks like for their child, as they haven’t been allowed on site this year.

Ann Lloyd, a previous pupil in the 1960’s, who saw Bugthorpe’s virtual tour on Facebook, said: “It just felt like I was five again. I loved my years at this school; so long ago. Looks amazing, so warm and friendly, and a headmaster so full of pride and enthusiasm. Well done everyone.”

When Mr Holtby took over the job of head in July last year, he said he was challenged to promote collaboration and working together for success.

He said: “We have made strong progress in this area of school life with shared newsletters, staff meetings, work moderations, policies, Subject Leadership Teams and development plans.

“We support each other, and look forward to further developing our links: with Federation on the horizon, and joint class educational visits and future inter-school competitions.

“I feel our future is clear and bright; we ‘follow our pathway and grow with confidence’.

“Since completing my Church of England Headship qualification, I have challenged both schools to live by this quote from the Church of England Vision for Education: play and playfulness are part of a full life, and any education that does not communicate joy, wonder, amazement, fascination and delight has failed. Our new cross-curricular creative curriculum is inspired by the late Sir Ken Robinson; He promoted creativity, and excited children with their hand up, engaged in learning a broad curriculum.

The schools have an environmental tutor to teach outdoor learning each week and each school has vegetable plots for each class, greenhouses, pond and Forest School areas. All of these can now be seen on their new virtual tours at Bugthorpe here.

and Sutton Upon Derwent here.

The schools still have places in their nurseries for September 2021 as well as space throughout the year groups. Both schools also offer free 30 hours’ provision in nursery for everyone, regardless of income and funding entitlement.

More information can be found on each school website.