TEACHERS are looking forward to seeing their pupils again as they prepare to get back to the classroom on Monday.

Schools in Brighton are set to reopen next week, after the city council initially advised them to remain closed due to coronavirus safety fears – defying the Government’s planned June 1 reopening.

Two weeks have passed since that decision, and the council has told schools the “necessary measures are now in place” for them to begin opening.

From Monday, nursery, reception, Year 1 and Year 6 pupils will return, and secondary schools will provide face-to-face support for students in Year 10 and 12.

Secondary school teachers in Brighton have told The Argus they now feel it is safer to return.

Nick Imrie is a history teacher at Dorothy Stringer secondary school in Brighton. Last month, when the Government was pushing for schools to reopen on June 1, he said he would not put his two children “in harm’s way” by sending them back until it he felt it was safe.

Now, he feels more reassured. “‘Safe’ has become a much more relative concept but I do think it’s safe to go back now,” he said.

“It’s never going to be as safe as it was before the pandemic, but this is a new reality we all have to live with.”

Nick is still concerned about the Government’s approach and said he felt unsettled by Boris Johnson’s description of his “whack-a-mole” strategy to swiftly reimpose local lockdowns if outbreaks flare up.

But he wants to see his students again. He is worried disadvantaged pupils’ progress will have been heavily set back and his Year 10s have GCSEs to prepare for. Nick is concerned it will be tough to coach them for exams that are likely to change because pupils have missed so much school.

He said: “It’s going to be really valuable to see my students again before the summer holidays – otherwise it could have been six months before having any contact. That’s much too long – they’ve got GCSEs ahead.

“Monday will be the first time I’ve gone back into school. I’m looking forward to seeing some different faces – and I love what I do.”

The Argus: Jack Cassidy, who teaches English and Media Studies at PACAJack Cassidy, who teaches English and Media Studies at PACA

Jack Cassidy, 35, is an English and media studies teacher at Portslade Aldridge Community Academy.

Like Nick, he is keen to begin teaching his pupils again, and shares his concerns about the Government’s handling of the crisis.

He said: “I’m pretty pleased with my own school’s plans – I feel it’s safe.

“I’m still a little worried about the Government’s test and trace system – it doesn’t appear to be working that well. It’s OK at the moment, but if there’s a flare-up, it could be a different story.

“I think it’s been sensible to take it more slowly here. I’m really pleased with how we’ve done it locally and how receptive the council and the schools have been to our concerns.

"I personally don’t feel worried. There won’t be that many kids coming back – it’s only Year 10, and there’s a rota so it will only be small groups at a time.

"It’s then a question of how we go forward and get everyone back in a safe way.

"But at the moment, the pace feels good.”