Schools up and down Cornwall have had to find a new way of working since the coronavirus pandemic - but when you have almost 500 pupils on the register, how to safely reopen is a lesson in itself.

For Parc Eglos School in Helston the 'new normal' looks very different to the classrooms of pre-Easter.

The school, which had 474 pupils at its most recent Ofsted in 2017, has been open to keyworker children throughout the pandemic and last week reopened for 34 Year 6 children.

This was followed by 21 Year 1 children from Monday this week and a further 28 Reception children are expected to join them next Monday (June 22), with the nursery also back running.

Headteacher Brett Dye said: "This is over 170 children, so we are really close to capacity given the current regulations.

Falmouth Packet:

"We have done our utmost to keep things as safe as possible, as well as ensuring the children still feel comfortable and happy within their spaces.

"School is a very happy and safe place, but just a little bit different at this moment in time.

"All our community has pulled together so well - parents with their understanding and patience with so many aspects of current life, teachers and support staff with their flexibility, whilst maintaining the support of school governors and trustees."

The remainder have stayed at home with parents and carers, and are being taught remotely, via an online classroom where work is set.

For those back in school, used to classes of 30 children and up to 60 per year group, it is very different environment to learn in.

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In most cases the school has kept to a maximum of ten children per class - known as bubbles - which is below the Government maximum stipulation of 15, in order to maintain the recommended social distances.

There have been five keyworker bubbles running and as of next week there will be eight further bubbles, with a teacher leading each group.

Tables are separated in classrooms, to keep children spaced apart, and to prevent bubble groups from mixing there are extended playtimes and lunchtimes, in which each group is staggered - although the actual lunch break for each group is shorter than normal, to help them get more schooling.

Arrival and pick up times are also staggered, to prevent queues and congestion at the school gates as the Government has said parents should not enter the school grounds.

Falmouth Packet:

"We have adopted a cautious and carefully managed approach; I think that is the best way forward as most of our classroom will be as full as we would like them to be at this moment in time," added Mr Dye.

He praised the efforts of all children, describing the behaviour of the younger pupils as fantastic and the older children as "very sensible and a real credit to us all."

Mr Dye said: "I think we can be really proud of the way we are all working together as a community. There is a lovely atmosphere in school and we also respect the decision of parents who have decided to continue with home learning."

The school is currently planning a social distanced outdoor leavers' celebration, in order to say farewell and recognise the achievements of year six children.