ONE-WAY systems, temperature checks and smaller class sizes will all be put in place to help get secondary students in Witham back to school.

The newly-announced plans come after a number of primary schools across the district welcomed back some of their pupils in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 on Monday.

Secondary schools are to remain closed to all students except those who parents are key workers until Monday, June 15.

Both New Rickstones and Maltings academies say they plan to follow the Government’s advice and welcome back Year 10 pupils from that date.

New Rickstones is expecting up to 75 per cent of the year group to return after getting the results of a survey sent out to parents.

Every Year 10 student will be offered a one-hour, face-to-face consultation at the school from June 15 to give them an opportunity to discuss how their studies are going and how they are coping with lockdown.

New social distancing measures will be put in place, such as one-way systems and new hand-washing stations.

Every student’s temperature will also be taken at the start of each day and face masks will be available to pupils.

Headteacher Damian Lee said: “I have to consider student and staff welfare – health and safety is paramount.

“Every student in the school is receiving a weekly phone call from us, with the most vulnerable hearing from us daily. We have got an amazing virtual learning programme in place. But, students are missing their teachers, so the need is there for us to return.

“The work the staff have done and the way the students have adapted to all of these changes has been phenomenal.

“They have really stepped up and I am so proud of them. There will be things we take forward from this as some students have learnt better with virtual lessons as they have been able to extend themselves even more.”

Similar safety measures will be in place at Maltings Academy, which also plans to host a virtual careers day for Year 10 students.

Groups of 30 students will spend three hours in school from June 15 for a reorientation day.

Each classroom will be allowed no more than ten students at a time.

Headteacher James Forbes said: “Students will have a learning review to see how they have been getting on with their home learning.

“But, as headteacher, it is a priority to also make sure students – and staff – are looking after their health and wellbeing.

“We are using a tool called AS Tracker to support students with their social and emotional needs. This is at the heart of our return to school strategy. From day one, we have said mental health is a priority.

“We have got some really exciting things happening, such as live lessons, video content being delivered and an academic support team on hand to respond to students’ questions immediately. For Year 7 and 8, we have launched a Skills Beyond the Classroom curriculum to focus on the things they can achieve while at home.

“As leaders, we are having to cope with continued development in government guidance. But, in education, we are sharing information and ideas and working together to make sure we are doing what is best for children in general.

“We have been very clear to parents that we will not have more students on site unless our risk assessments suggest it is safe.

“We will continue to review that every two weeks.”