This week, we welcome back the vast majority of staff and students across the 29 schools that make up the Unity Schools Partnership.
Schools are always well prepared at the beginning of each academic year, but this really is the best prepared September I have ever known.
Many of the schools are staggering the return of various year groups with all returning by the start of next week.
This phased return is in keeping with the diligent planning each primary, secondary and special school has undertaken to ensure our children return to a safe, welcoming and engaged environment.
Through detailed risk assessments, school leaders have carefully planned the return of school with various measures around social distancing, face coverings, enhanced hygiene and much more, in line with the national guidelines.
Our schools have all worked together to share ideas and resources. But a one-size-fits-all approach would not work.
Their detailed final plans have been bespoke to their school, their staff and their students.
The one thing they all share is a sheer delight in welcoming students back.
We have all learned about home schooling and Zoom meetings, but nothing will beat having students back, being among friends and benefiting from classroom teaching.
I would like to say a huge thank you to all staff for the unprecedented levels of preparation in reopening fully for the new school year. And thanks to those who have assisted with the public messages encouraging families that school is safe for their children to return.
The first couple of weeks will be dominated by ensuring the new routines are followed and getting children back into the routine of learning.
We are also delighted to see the Sir Bobby Robson School open in Ipswich along with new specialist provision at Burton End, Clements and Houldsworth Valley primaries and Castle Manor Academy and Newmarket Academy.
Alongside all other new staff across the trust, we welcome particularly all the additional new staff who will work with children at these six schools.
Across the trust, our vision and values remind us at the beginning of the school year about our shared ambition – to make remarkable change happen.
Our central belief is that every young life is special – open to possibility, gifted with the potential to change the world for the better.