A teacher has said pupils and teachers alike have adapted well to the new Covid measures at Clarendon Academy in Trowbridge.

Head of Design Technology, Sarah Andrews who has been teaching at Clarendon for her entire 14-year career said new measures, built around government guidelines, has been well-adopted by the staff.

She said: “There was extra training for staff because obviously, we need extra distance from each other and it also gave staff enough time to plan around the new rules and to know where their new classrooms are.

“I think they’ve done a great job because it’s not an easy thing to plan.”

One of these new measures is that teachers need to be more mobile than pre-Covid.

“We are moving from classroom to classroom,” Mrs Andrews said. “Whereas traditionally, we would be based in one main room, sometimes going out to another for specialist needs.”

Mrs Andrews, who is primarily a textiles teacher, said organisation is key as pupils still need to do practical work for some subjects.

For example, when teacher Year 9s there is a visualiser at the front of the room which means pupils will not be crowding around to learn practical skills.

“We’re very lucky at Clarendon because we have a very large site here,” she said.

“I know there are certain schools where they haven’t been able to carry on doing practical work with science and design technology and we’ve been able to plan that into the day still.

“Maybe not as much as we would normally do but we’re still managing to get that teaching in which I think is very important and adds to the variety for the pupils.”

Some classrooms in the design block can be accessed from the outside, which has allowed teachers to continue to provide design technology pupils with access to practical equipment.

There are some restrictions on machines such as pillar drills, as PPE for them has been prioritised for GCSE pupils.

Despite this Mrs Andrews admitted that she was nervous coming back to the classroom but said that those worries were alleviated by all the measures put in place to protect staff and pupils, including staggered break and end of day times.

“We all have our teaching packs, the whole school has been marked out,” she said. “Pupils were given induction days just to introduce them to the way things are going to work for now.”

“I do feel that they’ve made it as safe as possible. You are never far away hand sanitiser and we’ve got extra cleaners in.

“They’ve been amazing, and they seem to appear, and the rooms are so clean. So, I do feel completely confident about being back at work.”

During the nationwide lockdown, Mrs Andrews said that she did what they could with assigning theory and design work – and doing zoom lessons – and set key stage three pupils, a broad project working with what they had at home.

She said: “Even if it means you’re making stuff out of recycled cereal boxes, which worked well and seemed to engage a lot of our pupils.

“When you look at life positively there’s always a way around these things to keep the learning going.”

She said that zoom lessons helped pupils as they were more engaged than just using voice-overs.

With speculation over a ‘mini-lockdown’ to coincide with the October as a response to the recent surge in coronavirus cases, Mrs Andrews was not sure if it was a good idea.

“The problem with Covid,” she said, “is that it changes week on week. I think to put the idea out there in case it needs to happen isn’t a bad idea.”

“Until it gets to October it is very difficult to know and until they can level out with the test it’s going to be very difficult to know.”