PARENTS of children who attend special schools have praised staff for their dedication during the difficult coronavirus period.

Special schools in west Cheshire have remained open during the lockdown to support vulnerable pupils, and have been welcoming back more young people during the summer term.

Specialist schools support pupils with an Education, Health and Care Plan who have a range of special educational needs, with staff working closely with families to ensure needs are being met.

And parents wanted to place on record their thanks for everything that staff are doing.

One parent of a child who attends a special school in the borough said: “The school has been wonderful and so supportive and happy to talk through my concerns before my child returned to school. They have made it so easy and put my mind at rest.”

Another said: “I just needed to trust that the school would keep my child safe and they totally understood my apprehensiveness and answered all my questions, so much so that I felt very confident sending my daughter back to school.”

As schools have worked towards pupils returning to the classroom, individual risk assessments have been updated for all pupils to ensure it is suitable for them to return.

Other measures put in place to keep pupils and staff safe include one-way systems, smaller class sizes, bubbles for pupils and staff and staggered break times.

To make the move back to the classroom as smooth as possible for students, schools and colleges have shared social stories with pupils to prepare for changes before their return.

Mike McCann, chair of the Cheshire West Association of Special School Headteachers, said: “We’re so pleased to have been able to welcome more pupils back to school over the last month and spend time with them re-establishing relationships and supporting them with their learning.

“There have been some changes made to the way schools work to help minimise risk, such as introducing staggered start and finish times, but pupils have adapted remarkably well to these adjustments.

“We’ve found that pupils have been really keen to be back in school and many parents have reported improvements in their child’s wellbeing and in their sleep patterns, which has a hugely positive impact on parents and helps with a child’s learning.”

Cllr Bob Cernik, CWAC cabinet member for children and families said: “Our special schools are doing a fantastic job adapting their settings and welcoming back more pupils so they can continue to be supported with their education.

“Thank you to all the school staff who have worked hard over the last few months to provide a safe learning environment for their students and who continue to support children to help them achieve their best.”