A primary school cooked up a treat for families by hosting a virtual holiday club over half term.

Children at Bury and Whitefield Jewish Primary School enjoyed everything from kids' yoga and street dance sessions to scavenger hunts and scratch games thanks to the online activities hosted throughout last week.

Parents and staff at the Unsworth school gave up their time to put on the sessions and even headteacher Claire Simon got involved, showing children how to make her 'staffroom favourite' florentines.

Headteacher Claire Simon showed children how to make florentines

Like most schools, BWJPS has become accustomed to remote learning amid the pandemic - with two thirds of children learning at home last term and the remaining key worker children accessing the online work from the classroom.

But staff are clearly managing to keep the youngsters engaged as between 30 and 40 of them took part in each holiday club session, which cost families £10 for the full week.

Headteacher Claire Simon said: "The teachers gave up their time and we had lots of families joining in. I do a lot of baking for the staff at school so they asked me to do a demonstration making the florentines.

Bury and Whitefield Jewish Primary School

"Children could join in as much or as little as they wanted over the week and parents were thrilled with all the activities to keep them occupied."

Among them is mum Debbie Graham, who said: "It's been an amazing week, there have been so many activities to choose from to keep my kids busy and active and it's been great seeing them having so much fun with their friends.

"I'm hugely grateful to the teachers and parents who have made this possible."

James Ross enjoying one of the sessions

Mrs Simon said the last year has been tough for everybody working in education and praised her 'amazing staff and supportive parents' for the way they have managed so well throughout the crisis.

"It's obviously been hard and we've all struggled," she said. "Most of the children are not in school, we've got our key worker children in and the whole of nursery have been in since January 4.

"It's been hard on the children, they've not had much education in school since March, but with with our online learning they have several lessons a day. I know the government says that doing online lessons isn't the gold standard, but at least teachers can see the faces of the children."

Orla Myerson was one of dozens of pupils to enjoy the online sessions

She added: "My teachers have been amazing. They've all worked so hard and it's harder to prepare online lessons than it is to come into the classroom.

"Until somebody has done it they don't know hard it is or the challenges that teachers face."

The head, who has spent much of her career in secondary education, fears some younger children are losing social skills in the current climate - 'not picking up the social cues they'd learn in school, or learning how to behave with one another' - which is one of many reasons she's looking forward to having all the pupils back in on March 8.

Asher and Mischa Goldstone were among the families who took part

They've not escaped bubble closures since reopening in September and she acknowledges there could well be more, but she's keen to get back to some form of normality for the pupils' sake.

"The school has done an amazing job dealing with Covid," she said. "Parents have been supportive and staff have all been amazing. Not one member of staff said they didn't feel safe enough to work, they all put their trust in me.

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"We all take lots of precautions - sanitiser and encouraging hand washing all the time - and we're very careful as we walk around the school that we don't come into contact with each other. That includes the staff at lunch time and break times too, which obviously has an effect on mental health, but we're trying everything to be safe.

"I'm really excited to get the children back and I've reiterated to parents that they've got to be safe out of school as well as in school. We've all got to play our part."