EVERY secondary school in St Helens have welcomed pupils back on site this week.

Remote learning is still very much the focus, but yesterday some Year 10 pupils attended their schools for ‘check-in’ meetings with teachers.

According to St Helens Council, around 350 pupils were registered on Monday, which is an increase of around 200.

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At De La Salle School, 57 out of 60 planned face-to-face meetings with Year 10 pupils took place on Monday.

The rest of the year group will be staggered throughout the week.

Andrew Rannard, De La Salle’s headteacher, said: “The government are basically saying, all your education still should be online, but they (the pupils) need to have face-to-face.

“That’s what we’ve done this week. Throughout the week, every Year 10 will have a half-hour slot to come for a meeting.

“What we’re hoping to do now is to have Year 7, 8 and 9 to come in and do those face-to-face.

“Hopefully, next week we’ll be able to do Year 9, then Year 8 the week after and then Year 7.”

St Helens Star: Andrew Rannard, headteacher of De La Salle School Andrew Rannard, headteacher of De La Salle School

The Department for Education (DfE) said on Monday that it will do “whatever we can” to make sure no child falls behind as a result of coronavirus.

The DFE said it is considering, with a range of partner organisations, what more is required to support all pupils affected by school closures.

Based on Monday’s check-in meetings, Mr Rannard said the pupils who appear to be struggling more than others, by and large, are the more able learners.

“You’ve got some who don’t even need this meeting, everything is fine, great, and then you’ve got others who’ve been finding it hard,” Mr Rannard said.

“The ones, and I think other schools are finding the same, who are most stressed are the more able, the ones who want to do well.

“They’ve been doing work online, but it just plays on their minds, to think, ‘I’m missing, I’m missing’.

“We’re lucky because we had a three-year Key Stage 4. Our GSCE course is actually three years, not two. We normally finish the course at Christmas, so that gives us a five-month leeway.

“Ideally, we use that for preparation but at least we can start to soak up the gaps their missing now.

“There’s a bit of leeway there but we’re running out of it soon now I think.”

Elsewhere, Rainhill High School welcomed back Year 10 and Year 12 pupils on-site yesterday.

Josie Thorogood, Rainhill High’s headteacher, said the most important thing has been to ‘check-in’ with pupils, saying there is “no substitute” for face-to-face support.

Mrs Thorogood said: “As a school obviously we’re delighted to be welcoming children back in.

“The opportunity to be able to speak with children fact-to-face is really important.

“We had a very high turn out yesterday and we were absolutely delighted for Year 10 and Year 12, those were the year groups officially that we requested to bring back in.

“Of course throughout the duration of the lockdown we’ve been open for families of key workers and vulnerable children.

“As time goes on those numbers have increased, because as parents have been called back to work in various fields, the demand for those places goes up. So we’re delighted with that as well.”

St Helens Star: Josie Thorogood, headteacher of Rainhill HighJosie Thorogood, headteacher of Rainhill High

Mrs Thorogood praised the school’s “brilliant” staff, who have continued to support pupils throughout the lockdown.

Staff at the academy school will now look to support students as they adapt to the new timetable, which is in place for the remainder of the academic year.

Mrs Thorogood said: “Our timetable is set up now, so we’re one of the schools I suppose that’s gone quite quicker.

“I know some schools around the region are not open this week, but they might be having one to one contact and starting to build up to that.

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“Whereas we’ve integrated a pastoral programme within our day to day contact and we have two form groups of Year 10 on-site each day and then on Friday we do other subjects.

“That timetable is set up for four weeks, it has to run for four weeks for everybody to have the same amount of time across all of their subjects.”