A PRIMARY school head has introduced mandatory masks for parents at pick-up times.

Despite schools across the country experienced teething problems upon the return to school, Sue Jackson, headteacher at Lee Chapel Primary School, in Basildon, said things have been running smoothly and the school has not been shut a single day since the pandemic hit.

She praised parents for their committed approach to keeping their children and community safe.

The popular head said: “Given the number of children at the school, pick-ups were becoming quite congested so we have introduced mandatory face masks so I can say I’ve done all I can to keep my community safe.

Southend Standard: Positive - Sue JacksonPositive - Sue Jackson

“The parents have been amazing. All staff have been wearing them during pick-up times too.

“We have been very fortunate - we are a large school so we therefore have more staff, so when I get the daily call that a member of staff is self-isolating, you have a 48-hour period where you’ve got to cover them. In a larger school with more staff, that’s easier to do, and I would imagine for my colleagues in smaller schools that’s more of a challenge.

“Primary schools have not been affected in the way that secondary schools have. Theirs is a different ball game to ours.

“We have 1,043 children here and I have still not had one positive test result.”

All primary schools received an email which was then sent out to parents from NHS Test and Trace to alleviate any confusion around symptoms.

Mrs Jackson, added: “Children at this time of year get everything [colds] but to be fair, attendance has been really good - between 95 and 96 per cent.

“The children love being in school and it’s great having them back.”

Despite the positive feedback from primary school, Jerry Glazier secretary of the Essex branch of the National Education Union, expressed his concerns that the Government is not doing enough and the “bubble” system was flawed.

He said: “What has concerned us is the size of the bubbles that the Government has determined are appropriate - when there has been a problem, the numbers of students that have been sent home have reflected the size of the bubbles which can be quite a large number of kids which brings challenges.

“They have to isolate until they can be tested but we have continued to see massive problems with speed of testing.”

The union boss added: “Schools have done a tremendous amount of work to enable them to open fully but it is a concern to see the number of outbreaks in schools in just three weeks, either involving staff or students, and it goes without saying that this is increasing.”

“As a union, we have been saying to the Government since before the summer holidays, for schools to remain open the government has to recognise the demands on schools in a number of areas for example, some schools are running out of money and will need to sustain and replenish their Covid-secure supplies.”