Parents back in sporting spectator trial
Highfield and Brookham Schools have taken another step closer to normality with the return of spectators at selected sporting events.
Parents of Year 8 cricketers have been allowed to watch their children in action on the pitch for the first time in more than 14 months – since competitive fixtures were dramatically halted by the coronavirus pandemic.
As part of a trial to welcome spectators back to the prep school, which only involves Year 8 teams at this stage, the eager parents watched their children take on Westbourne House School at cricket last Saturday before returning to see the U13 boys take on Amesbury on Wednesday afternoon.
The move follows the latest phase of lockdown easing announced by the Government on May 17, with a final lifting of restrictions still expected on June 21.
The decision to partially reopen Highfield and Brookham Schools to parents follows hard on the heels of a series of high-profile national pilot projects – such as Premier League football grounds and Wembley Stadium welcoming a limited number of fans – aimed at assessing the impact of larger public gatherings on the rate of Covid transmission.
If the subsequent data from trial events shows minimal impact on Covid rates nationally, a full return of fans to British sporting events seems certain, and with it would likely come a full return of parents to school sports matches for all year groups at Highfield and Brookham.
Like other schools up and down the country, it’s been a waiting game for us, as we have been keen for parents to get the chance to watch their children playing football, cricket, hockey and tennis as soon as possible, but the safety of everyone, not least the children, has been paramount.
Social distancing and carefully-controlled parking measures continue to be in place for the return of parents to the site, as well as easy access to the plentiful hand sanitisers.
Phillip Evitt, headmaster at Highfield School, said:
While we have worked tirelessly to keep our children and staff safe during the pandemic, it’s been a real minefield trying to prepare for any potential reopening of the school site to visitors. But we’ve now successfully taken those first steps and we are delighted with how it’s gone. Our parents have really appreciated the steps we’ve taken to make sure everyone is kept as safe as possible.
The parents were clearly glad to be back too, watching their children play competitive school sport for the first time since March 2020, and Dan Bather, Director of Sport at Highfield, added:
Not only was it lovely for the parents to be back on site watching live sport again, it was a real boost for the children to see their parents cheering them on from the sidelines.