Swindon Borough Council is backing a national campaign to reassure parents and children that it is safe to return to school when the new term starts next week.

The Government’s #backtoschoolsafely campaign is part of the wider Stay Alert campaign, and features newspaper, digital, radio and billboard adverts to showcase a range of new creative approaches to engage parents and students in returning to school.

Schools in Swindon have received Public Health England-endorsed guidance on protective measures they should implement to be as safe as possible and reduce the risk of transmission of coronavirus.

The Council has been working closely with schools over the past few months to ensure appropriate risk assessments are in place and to offer advice on how to open school sites safely for pupils and staff.

A series of briefings are also taking place with headteachers to update them on the current COVID-19 position in Swindon and to offer additional help and advice.

Schools in the town are introducing a range of measures to keep children safe including increased hygiene and handwashing, staggered break times, increased signage and one-way systems, while schoolchildren will be kept in specific groups or bubbles to minimise any risks.

Councillor Russell Holland, Deputy Leader of Swindon Borough Council and the Cabinet Member responsible for Education, said: “I am grateful to children, parents, teachers and support staff for all of their hard work during this difficult time.

“I know that there will be concerns about going back to school but I would like to reassure everyone that schools and the Council have been working extremely hard to do everything possible to keep children safe.This will be kept constantly under review.

“I invite all parents to do everything they can to work constructively with schools to help children get the best possible education. It is really important that children are back in school to achieve that.

“When children return to school things will look and feel different as measures are put in place to keep everyone safe. This may mean some challenges at first so I invite parents and students to be patient as everyone works together on this.

“It’s really important to remember that the best way to stay safe is to continue to do the basics of washing hands, maintaining social distancing wherever possible and, if you have any symptoms, to get the test.”

Further information on the #Backtoschoolsafely campaign is available on the Government’s website www.gov.uk/backtoschool.

Parents who are anxious about their children returning to school or who require further information can call the Council’s Early Help Team on 01793 465050.