FLINTSHIRE council reports a ‘smooth start’ to the first day of school for the first group of pupils.

The council said pupils were able to check in, catch up and prepare as all of its schools safely reopened ready to receive their first groups of students.

Unlike elsewhere in the UK, children in Wales can return to school before the summer holidays, but only a limited numbers will be allowed back at any one time over the next three weeks.

The arrangements for school transport have also 'run effectively' with only a limited number of pupils making use of the network as parents have followed the advice to make their own arrangements wherever possible.

Leader of Flintshire County Council and Cabinet Member for Education and Youth, Councillor Ian Roberts, said: “This marks a very important day for the learners of Flintshire and I am delighted to see that all of our schools have been able to reopen and welcome more of their pupils back.

“This represents a real team effort across a range of council services including the Education Portfolio, the Integrated Transport Unit, NEWydd Cleaning & Catering and the Health and Safety Team.

“Our schools have worked tirelessly during the period of school closure delivering emergency childcare for key workers and vulnerable learners and have spent the last few weeks completing detailed risk assessments and putting control measures in place to ensure that pupils, parents and staff feel reassured about returning to school. We look forward to seeing how learners enjoy their last few weeks of school before the end of term.”

One excited pupil, Soraya Dyment of Aston Park, made a video to explain how excited she was to return back to school.

She then posted an update of how her first day back went and her experience of the new measures, including temperature checks upon arrival and social distancing.

She said the classroom looked ‘so different’ and teachers reinforced the ‘coronavirus rules’.

Throughout the lockdown, Soraya has been creating videos of her experience and inspiring other children on what they can do to keep the boredom at bay.

Chief Officer for Education and Youth, Claire Homard, added: “I would like to express our thanks to all the Headteachers and staff across Flintshire schools who have worked so hard over these last few months and for the extra efforts they have made to make our schools safe places for our learners to return to.

“There has been a huge amount of ingenuity and creativity to make their buildings as colourful and welcoming as possible, despite the social distancing measures, so that children and young people feel comfortable and confident when they arrive back for the first time.

“I know that all our schools are really looking forward to seeing their pupils again. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the parents and carers of Flintshire pupils who have also worked very hard supporting their children’s learning during the period of school closure and engaging with the variety of learning activities their school has provided.

“We are really looking forward to these next few weeks and catching up with all our learners.”